Both patients and bed-siders at Ndola Teaching Hospital (NTH) have expressed concern over charges levied on them for every service they receive from the health institution.
A bed-sider, Clara Mumba told ZANIS that the institution is charging K100 for newly born babies, failure to which the mother will not be discharged and K200 for babies born with deformities whose mothers will also not be discharged until payment is made.
“We thought NTH was a government institution where we can at least be given free services and free medical attention,” she said.
Ms. Mumba alleged that sometimes, even after payment is made, the institution does not provide medicines but gives a prescription, a situation she said is not right.
And one of the patients talked to, Mwape Kasanda, suggested that government could get rid of the youth empowerment funds and channel the money to critical sectors of the economy such as health.
“If the money is used in health institutions, it would help reduce the number of deaths recorded therefore government should take this into consideration,” said Kasanda.
Meanwhile, Chisha Chisha, a mother who was waiting to be discharged from the maternity ward, said it was okay for government to charge for certain services but not maternity deliveries.
Ms. Chisha said this move will discourage many women from giving birth at health institutions.
She added that members of public run to government institutions to get free treatment because everyone there is treated equally but what is obtaining at the moment at NTH is disheartening.
She has since urged government and the relevant authorities to look into the matter before people resort to staying at home for fear of not affording medical fees when they fall ill.
And Ndola Teaching Hospital (NTH) Senior Medical Superintendent Joseph Musowoya refuted the allegations saying it is not all services at the institution that are paid for.
Dr. Musowoya noted that only services such as x-rays, lab samples, scans among others are paid for.
He said payments for certain services instill responsibility in the usage of drugs by patients and also contribute to revenue collection for day to day running of hospitals.
He has since appealed to members of the public to register under National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIMA) in order to ease payments at the institution.