Most private hospitals offering Covid-19 treatment are turning the pandemic into an economic and psychological nightmare for patients, with some of the institutions charging admission fees of up to US$1 000 per night.
This is happening amid reports that most government hospitals are already overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients which means private health institutions are the only available option.
The Sunday Mail recently carried out a survey which revealed that the cost of admission of a Covid-19 patient at private clinics such as West End and Avenues Clinic ranges from US$800 to US$1 000 per day in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Montagu Clinic, which operates under Avenues Clinic in Harare, charges
- US$3 500 for a general ward,
- US$5 100 for its high-dependence unit (HDU),
- US$4 000 for a private ward and
- US$7 600 for the intensive care unit (ICU).
Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo demands a deposit of US$5 000 for patients who need ICU hospitalisation.
The Sunday Mail reports that m\Most Covid-19 patients now have bills running into thousands of US dollars, while some patients are losing their lives after opting out of the private hospitals.
Chief co-ordinator of the National Response to the Covid-19 in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva, encouraged the citizenry to go to the public health institutions for assistance.
The Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA), a body of medical practitioners in private practice, said the charges were justified considering the costs and risks associated with COVID-19.
Health expert Dr Kennedy Nyiranda, a private practitioner, said it is wrong for hospitals to ask for a deposit before offering healthcare given that Covid-19 is a global pandemic.
CWGH executive director Mr Itai Rusike called upon the Ministry of Health and Child Care to regulate fees payable to private hospitals for the management and treatment of Covid-19 patients.
More: The Sunday Mail