Health fees soar as strike continues

HARARE - The Zimbabwean government has increased hospital fees by between 50 and 100 percent as the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare grapples to meet escalating health costs and raise funds to pay the striking doctors.
The hike in hospital fees is in line with the National Association of Medi

cal Aid Societies charges, deputy minister of Health and Child Welfare Edwin Muguti said. The revision of hospital fees and tariffs is one strategy through which his under-funded ministry intends to supplement its budget allocation.
The hike comes as government gazettes statutory instrument 263/2006 which has fixed new fees for registration of medicines, licences and permits under the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act. Striking doctors dug in their heels, refusing to return to work despite a bout of threats from government. The striking doctors want a salary of $5 million plus other perks. They are currently taking home $56,000.
It is hoped that the increases in hospital fees will help resuscitate health standards which have virtually collapsed at some hospitals, the junior deputy minister added. He denied reports that he had threatened to fire striking junior doctors who did not return to work as ordered.

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