Source: Illegal health facilities shut down | The Sunday Mail May 29, 2016
The Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe has shutdown 41 healthcare facilities operating illegally countrywide this year, it has been established.
Investigations by the healthcare watchdog established that 36 facilities had not renewed their licenses while five others were operating without relevant statutory licensing.
Last year, 15 health centres were closed for different reasons.
HPA secretary-general Mr Shepherd Humure said, “This year alone, we have closed down 36 healthcare centres that have been operating without renewing their licenses. I am not at liberty to name the centres. Five of them have been operating without even registering and do not appear on our registers.”
The investigations, said Mr Humure, also showed that some facilities were operating below standards and this was a threat to public health.
“For a healthcare facility to be licensed it goes through four bodies and through these professional bodies they are tried and tested to see if they meet the set criteria. Therefore, when a practitioner is operating without a license it means they do not have the capacity to treat patients.”
It is a criminal offence to operate without a valid licence.
“Each time a patient walks into a health facility, one is advised to check for a HPA licensing certificate to make sure that you are not visiting a bogus surgery. By licensing, we are saying the institution is recognised and if anything goes wrong we will be able to investigate,” said Mr Humure.
General practitioners pay US$300 as registration fee and US$150 annually, whilst specialists pay US$460 for initial registration and then US$230 yearly.
The proliferation of medical practitioners operating without licenses has been linked to the deterioration of pubic health services and the absence of Government grants.
“For public health institutions health facilities and services are deteriorating. It is a matter of funding as we note that 15 percent of the national budget, according to the UN standards, should go to health facilities yet in Zimbabwe it is around 6 percent that is given to health,” said Mr Humure.
The Health Professions Act (Chapter 27:19) established the HPA in 2000 and it works to promote the safety of patients by regulating and licencing healthcare facilities.