BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
MEMBERS of Parliament have demanded that Vice-President and Health and Child Care minister Constantino Chiwenga should issue a ministerial statement in the National Assembly explaining the recent hike in hospital user fees.
This follows a statement by the Health ministry this week, which hiked hospital fees by 1 748%.
The notice pegged consultation fees for adults at US$12 and children US$6, which is equivalent to $3 696 and $1 848, respectively in the local currency using the official exchange rate of US$1:$308.
The previous user fees were pegged in 2020 at $200 and $100 for adults and children, respectively.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (CCC) yesterday raised a point of national interest in the National Assembly where he requested that Chiwenga present himself before Parliament to explain the extraordinary hospital fee hikes.
“Guided by section 76 of the Constitution which provides for the right to access to basic health care services, the Constitution provides that every citizen has a right to basic healthcare services. The Ministry of Health reviewed consultation fees from $200 to US$12 or the equivalence to the prevailing bank rate of the day,” Chikwinya said.
“In my view, this upward increase provides for contravention of the right to health services as some Zimbabweans will not be able to afford basic healthcare. I request Parliament through you (Jacob Mudenda) that the Minister of Health should come and explain, and justify the cost structure which guided him to move from $200 to US$12.”
“I believe that our public health institutions must cater for patients who are not working, or at least civil servants who will not be able to afford US$12,” Chikwinya said.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said: “The message will be passed on by the chief whip (Pupurai Togarepi).
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