HomeEditorial CommentWho will save us now?

Who will save us now?

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HARDLY a week passes without prices of goods and services shifting and many of us now seriously doubt whether government will ever get on top of the situation as it keeps promising.

These doubts are further buttressed when government itself also unilaterally increases prices. And when it even increases prices of critical and essential services such as health by almost 2 000%, the little hope left in us for a better future instantly vanishes.

Tuesday’s announcement of a 1 748% increase in public hospitals user fees by the Health and Child Care ministry is tantamount to nailing the coffin lid of our health delivery system which has been in intensive care for some time now.

Gnawed to the bone marrow by poor funding, high staff turnover, inadequate, dilapidated equipment and very low staff morale due to poor working conditions and poor remuneration, the health delivery system is effectively dead.

And the fresh consultation fee hike has essentially shut hospital doors to poverty-stricken Zimbabweans who are scarcely affording a decent meal.

Granted, the old consultation fees of $200 and $100 for adults and children, respectively, could now be ridiculous given the fast weakening Zimbabwe dollar as inflation ravages it, we would have thought that — come rain or sunshine — our government would stand by us to make sure we access critical services at all times.

But no, our government has decided to hang us out to dry. We are now meat for savanna scavengers. Both public and private sector workers cannot afford the US$12 (or
$3 696) and US$6 (or $1 848) consultation fees for adults and children being demanded at public health institutions because their wages and salaries have been stagnant amid rampaging inflation.

Government-run hospitals and clinics had been the citizens’ last hope because private hospitals and clinics are now a preserve for the elite, who can afford high consultation fees.

The user fees increase comes hard on the heels of yet another government fee increase for primary and secondary schools examinations, with even classes such as Grade 6 and 7 now being required to pay termly examination fees. As if that is not enough, fuel prices have also shot into the roof.

These developments and many others have left most of us wondering who will save us when our only hope, the government, keeps turning its back on us and literally lying to us that it is working on measures to arrest the prevailing untenable economic downturn which is making it near impossible for people to even breathe.

Our only hope, the government, is not even prepared to increase the salaries of its own workers, who also depend on public services for their survival, making it double impossible for us to continue hoping against hope.

This no longer needs rocket science for one to see that people are now at serious risk of dying like flies in homes because they cannot afford health services. This is more than an indictment on this so-called new dispensation.

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