In yet another case of ‘unprecedented development’, PF government has basically introduced a private hospital within UTH after increasing user fees by more than 200 percent for services under the premium and standard patients’ schemes owing to the high cost of goods and services.
The Zambian watchdog recently reported that the bankrupt PF government had not released grants to hospitals and clinics around the country forcing patients to scrounge around for their own medicine and foods.
And what more, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has drastically reduced budget for the education and health sectors for 2015, but has more than doubled allocation for corrupt roads sector.
So far, a number of patients have been turned away after failing to pay the new user fees, especially those seeking laboratory and medical examinations.
UTH managing director Dr. Lackson Kasonka last week announced the increments from K3, 000 to K25, 000 while specialised tests like computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electrocardiography (ECG) have been increased from about K1, 500 to an average K4000.
A number of patients were already failing to pay K10 for the low scheme, but this figure has now been increased by three times to K30 for laboratory blood tests, Xray and ultrasound, ECG and Echo among other medical tests.
UTH, Kitwe Central, Ndola and Livingstone major hospitals are all too ‘sick’ with huge debts because government would rather finance roads construction sectors than health facilities.
And these fees increments are all coming at a time the supposedly pro-poor PF government is pushing for yet another wage and employment freeze.
Despite all these increments, ailing president Michael Sata is receiving specialised treatment from not less than 10 medical doctors alone imported from not less than 5 countries and charging hourly rates while staying at 5 star hotels.