Stop Charging the Elderly, Children – Health Minister

Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa last week castigated authorities at hospitals and clinics for continuously charging the elderly and children seeking health services under the guise of hospital card fees, saying such acts were in breach of the Government’s directive.

Addressing heads of health institutions in the Midlands Province during the official opening of a new clinic and handover of new ambulances to Kwekwe City Council, Dr Parirenyatwa said his ministry noted with concern tendencies by hospitals and clinics to continue charging patients in the exclusion list despite the directive.

“The new Government administration led by our President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa has made it clear that the elderly people from 65 years and above should get free health care,” he said. “We have also said children aged five years and below should be given treatment free of charge.

“We have, however, noted that hospitals and clinics have continued to charge these patients after coining their own terms like card fees. There is nothing like card fees, let these people get free treatment.”

Dr Parirenyatwa said expecting mothers should also get free pre and post-natal health care in all Government institutions and clinics.

“This is the new Government’s vision and we should implement it,” he said. “The President is clear on that, so let’s cooperate and give our people free health services.”

Dr Parirenyatwa said devolution that the new government seeks to implement soon after the harmonised elections would also cascade to health institutions, with clinics poised to have doctors.

“I understand everyone is now in sync with the President’s vision,” he said. “He said there would be devolution and in the health sector, clinics will be no longer the ordinary clinics that you used to know.

“We will be assigning doctors to the clinics. We will have at least a doctor per three clinics who will be visiting these clinics to offer services that patients need.

We will also equip all our district and provincial hospitals so that patients can get their health needs there.”

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