City health charges skyrocket

City health charges skyrocket

09 October 2008

 by Barnabas Mangodza

The City of Harare clinics increased their consultation fees (excluding
drugs) three times within a space of five days last week, pushing the accessibility of health facilities far beyond the reach of many. The council clinics have always been relatively cheap and accessible to the majority of residents whose majority gets paltry salaries which are far below the poverty datum line. Maternity

The Harare residents are reeling under the micro and macro-economic challenges facing the country and a sizeable number live in dire poverty with some living in slums. The increase in health services charges come at an unfortunate time when there is an outbreak of cholera in the city and private hospital charges are quoted in forex,  making them out of the reach of many. CHRA has been receiving disturbing reports on residents` ordeals on the water shortage crisis and its ripple effects. Many have lost their loved ones, some are sick and the rest face the risk of getting sick in the midst of unaffordable health services.

The chronic failure of the macro-economic fundamentals has seen basic commodities and services prices skyrocketing without meaningful economic measures taken in response to the situation. Instead, the central bank officially semi-dollarised the economy, thus further alienating the poor who are paid in not only local currency but with their salaries so meager that they can hardly keep abreast with the hyperinflation. The central bank has failed to control hyperinflation and to sustain non-cash alternative transactional means, thus failing to meet the demand for cash which is so much needed by residents to access health facilities and other services.

Furthermore, the water and sewer mismanagement in the city continues unabated, therefore exposing residents to health hazards. CHRA reckons that it is the macro-economic centre that is not holding and urges the powers that be to move swiftly in solving the crises bedeviling the country, push for the reclamation of water and sewer management from ZINWA, and explore other means of increasing the city’s revenue base. CHRA remains committed to serving the residents of Harare and advocating for good, transparent local governance as well as affordable and quality municipal services.

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