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Admission fees into Covid-19 wards exorbitant

by Staff reporter
23 Jan 2021 at 22:52hrs | Views
PUBLIC hospitals where ordinary Zimbabweans go to for survival are charging as much as RTGS $10 000, an equivalent of US$100, for admission into their Covid-19 wards, an amount of money that very few ordinary citizens of this country can afford.

Inquiries by The Standard over the week found that Parirenyatwa, the main Covid-19 referral hospital in the capital, is said to be charging an upfront $10 000 upon admission to the general ward where Covid patients are treated.

Admission into private wards at the same institution calls for an advance payment of between US$1 500 and US$2 500 prior to admission. Very few people can afford these fees in Zimbabwe where the average salary ranges below US$100.

As a result, most people that go to these public health institutions seeking treatment for Covid-19 are turned away and now resort to home-based care.

Parirenyatwa Hospital spokesperson Linos Dhire, however, refuted claims that the institution was demanding such huge sums of money from Covid-19 patients.

"Covid-19 treatment remains free at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals," said Dhire.

Zimbabwe is going through its worst phase since the breakout of Covid-19 in March last year with statistics of infected people close to breaching the 9 000 mark while fatalities stand at over 900.

In January last year, government raised consultation fees for its institutions with Parirenyatwa hospital charging $200 for consultation and the same for a bed on admission per day for Covid-19 patients. Other central hospitals were charging $160 with provincial hospitals charging $120.

A source at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital said the hospital was still charging the pegged $160 while referrals to Covid-19 centres were being done for patients who tested
positive to the virus.

A private hospital in Chitungwiza is charging US$20 for consultation and US$2 200 for the Covid-19 ward.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike called on the government to strengthen health systems as public health institutions are overwhelmed by the huge number of patients requiring health care from very few facilities that are manned by ill-equipped skeletal staff.

"Government, through the Health ministry, needs to regulate the fees charged at public health institutions to reduce the number of deaths from Covid-19-related health conditions," Rusike said.

Source - the standard