Concerns over ‘pro-poor’ salary hikes
Publish date: 13 January 2020
Issue Number: 855
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The soaring cost of medical treatment at Zimbabwe’s state hospitals will further alienate impoverished people at a time when they are struggling to meet their basic needs, health activists believe. The Sunday Times reports that they note that government on 31 December approved hospital fee increases of up to 600%. Earlier in December civil servants were given a salary increase of 250%. Agnes Mahomva, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health said the new hike was ‘pro poor’ even though the cost of treating chronic illnesses increased by 567%. With the doctors' strike in its fifth month, many pregnant women have resorted to backyard and home births. However, Mahomva said expectant mothers would join children below the age of five and the elderly in enjoying free health care. Taurayi Nyandoro of the Zimbabwe Aids Network said the price increase was ‘uncalled for as it comes against a backdrop of current challenges to resolve structural bottlenecks such as the doctors' strike, shortages of drugs and medicines’.