A local health institution has embarked on a US$10 million expansion and refurbishment project that will see the country having the first Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment called Three Tesla from Japan, which is set to be the first of its kind in Africa.

The development has been lauded as a step in the right direction despite numerous challenges bedevilling the health sector.

The Avenues Clinic in Harare, is one of the country’s prime health facilities catering for locals, diplomats and even tourists.

Today, the clinic held a ground breaking ceremony signalling the commencement of the refurbishment exercise.

However, what could ordinarily have brought joy to many people has been overshadowed by the clinic’s 14 percent upward price adjustment as per the 5th of October statement.

The clinic’s Chief Executive, Mr Searchmore Chaparadza and board chairman, Mr Pearson Chitando justified the fees adjustment, saying it allows the hospital to continue providing quality service in the face of foreign currency shortages in the economy.

Since the introduction of a two percent tax on electronic money transfers, most operators in the health sector including physicians, whose imported raw materials are insignificant, started raising fees across the board, while some pharmacies have started selling medicine in US dollars.

The current situation in the health sector is sad on many levels and it calls out for restraint especially from service providers.

Observers say it is appreciated that the country’s pricing model is not favourable to importers and locally produced drugs and medical consumables make up a small percentage of what is actually consumed in the country.

The rate at which pharmacies have started raising prices and turning down medical aids is worrying and seems like profiteering tendencies are now at play.

This takes health delivery back many steps and poses a major risk to adherence on the part of patients who are on lifelong medication.

A circular minute from the National Physicians Association of Zimbabwe (NAPAZ), physicians resolved at their annual general meeting held over the weekend that with effect from today they will start charging patients in US dollars or the prevailing daily exchange rate and patients will seek reimbursements from their medical aid societies.