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– Chronicle

DEBTORS owe Bulawayo’s major hospitals $82 million in unpaid bills and medical aid companies are among the top debtors.

Mpilo Central Hospital is owed $60 million while the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) is owed $22 million.

Failure to pay bills on time by patients is said to be crippling the operations at the two hospitals.

The hospitals mainly attend to patients from the southern part of the country; Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said despite unleashing debt collectors, one of the biggest referral hospitals in the country is still struggling to recover its monies.

“Debtors owe us about $60 million. We are trying our best to remind them to try and pay. Sometimes we send reminders and debt collectors to convince them to clear their debts. It is important for patients to clear their debts because they don’t know when they are going to need medical attention and when they would come for further help,” said Prof Ngwenya.

“If they pay their debts, it will keep the hospital going, hence it is important for people to clear their debts. We are always hamstrung by inadequate funds and if these funds are to be availed to us, they will go a long way in improving services so that we can serve people continuously.”

In the past, Mpilo Central Hospital singled out residents, parastatals and medical aid companies as some of its debtors.

His counterpart at UBH Dr Narcisius Dzvanga said the debt at the hospital is largely caused by medical aid companies.

“We mainly attend to the less privileged whom we don’t charge so most of them do not owe us anything. The bulk of our debt comes from medical aid companies. As of May they owed us $22 million. Most of the private citizens we attend to are exempted from paying bills,” said Dr Dzvanga.-@nqotshili..

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