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    Saturday, 23 April 2016

    Patients owe Chiredzi Hospital $1,5m


    – Chiredzi Hospital, the referral institution for the whole district is owed $1,5m by patients, a situation that has negatively affected the sourcing of drugs.
    However, the Minister of Health and Child Care who took into cognisance the drought and poverty in the area has discouraged the hospital from taking legal action against patients but urged for other means to recover the money.
    The debts emerged during the Minister's whirlwind visits of hospitals in the province last month.
    Chiredzi Hospital Accountant Havurovi Zivhuku said 60 percent of the hospital`s budget goes to medical supplies but one of their challenges is failure by patients to pay for hospital user fees as they are now owed $1 537 426.53 by patients. He said the hospital struggles to procure drugs from Natpharm because of financial constraints.
    "We charge $6 for adults, $2 for children and pregnant mothers pays nothing. Our priority as a hospital is to procure enough drugs for use but the challenge we face is of patients who fail to pay user fees. At the moment we are owed $1 537 426,53 by patients and it is difficult for us to recover that money as most of the debtors are not able to pay anything.
    We owe a lot of money to ZESA and ZINWA.
    Minister of Health and Child Care David Parirenyatwa said it was quite unfortunate to learn that Chiredzi Hospital is owed over a million dollars by patients. He urged the hospital authorities to find other remedies to recover the money other than taking patients to debt collectors saying the Ministry`s policy was against such action saying it is government`s responsibility to look for everyone`s health even the poor.
    "It is quite unfortunate that you are owed such a huge sum of money by patients. Find other ways to recover the money other than engaging debt collectors. We know it's difficult for you to recover the money but as a ministry we discourage the legal route because as a State it is our responsibility to look after the health of our people especially the poor. Health is a right for all," said Dr Parirenyatwa.
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