The Chron­i­cle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

BU­L­AWAYO, Thurs­day, Septem­ber 15,1966 — The Min­istry of Health has writ­ten to the Bu­l­awayo Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health, Dr EF Wat­son, com­plain­ing about lo­cal au­thor­i­ties prac­tice of ask­ing the Min­istry to pay the bills run up in lo­cal author­ity in­fec­tious dis­ease hos­pi­tal by “for­eign” pa­tients.

The Min­istry said that such pa­tients came to Rhode­sia “. . . with the sole idea of ob­tain­ing med­i­cal treat­ment in lo­cal author­ity in­fec­tious dis­eases hos­pi­tals”. In terms of a pub­lic Health Fi­nance Agree­ment, the Min­istry is re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing for pa­tients in in­fec­tious dis­eases hos­pi­tals when such pa­tients are out­side the lo­cal author­ity area.

The pay­ment for African pa­tients is one shilling a day. For non-Africans it is 2,5s a day. At the last meet­ing of the City Coun­cil’s health and wel­fare com­mit­tee this mat­ter was dis­cussed.

The med­i­cal of­fi­cer agreed with the Min­ster’s view that the agree­ment was not in­tended to cover for­eign pa­tients who came to Rhode­sia specif­i­cally for treat­ment of in­fec­tious dis­eases. As his con­sent is re­quired be­fore for­eign pa­tients can be ad­mit­ted to in­fec­tious dis­eases hos­pi­tals in Bu­l­awayo, he felt the coun­cil should ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for col­lect­ing fees from such pa­tients.

The com­mit­tee will rec­om­mend this to the Coun­cil at its next meet­ing. In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day, Dr Wat­son said that in the 18 years he had held the of­fice of med­i­cal of­fi­cer in Bu­l­awayo, he could only re­call one “for­eign” pa­tient ad­mit­ted to Bu­l­awayo’s In­fec­tious Dis­eases Hos­pi­tal.

He said it was ob­vi­ous that the for­eign pa­tients to whom the Min­istry re­ferred were non-Africans, and that they were ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tals in other cen­tres, not Bu­l­awayo.

It was clearly the charge of 2,5s a day for non-Africans against which the Min­istry was protest­ing. The govern­ment is merely point­ing out that in the case of mu­nic­i­pal hos­pi­tals, we and not they, should col­lect the fees.

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