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ZIMBABWEANS, struggling to make ends meet due to economic meltdown, are now flooding Mozambican hospitals seeking cheaper medical care as local costs have become unaffordable.

A survey by NewZimbabwe.com in Mozambique revealed that most Zimbabweans who live in the eastern border city of Mutare and its surroundings were now opting to access treatment in Manica or Chimoio where the cost of medication is subsidized by the government.

Treatment and drugs at most Mozambican hospitals are supplied free of charge to poor communities.

Most Zimbabweans who are crossing the border to Mozambique are seeking dental assistance which is relatively cheaper as compared to local medical centres.

Mozambique health institutions charge $1 to extract a tooth while local centres including government hospitals charge not less than $20.

Francisco Albeto Neto, a Chimoio medical doctor, confirmed that their hospitals were overwhelmed by patients from Zimbabwe who were seeking affordable medical care.

“Our dental clinic is overwhelmed with patients from Zimbabwe who are seeking cheaper medical assistance in our hospitals. Dental services here are subsidized by government and we are able to offer such assistance to our brothers and sisters,” said Neto.

It costs one less than $5 to travel and have a tooth extracted in Chimoio from Mutare.

Locals interviewed said the health service delivery system in Mozambique was still intact as compared to Zimbabwe where one has to fork out money for virtually everything including consultation fees.

“It’s better to come to Mozambique because drugs and services are affordable. I had a tooth ache for a long time and could not afford to go to local health centres because it was expensive.

“Here I just paid a 30MT which is equivalent to a $1,” said Claris Mwayera, 24, who was queuing to see the dentist at Chimoio Provincia De hospital.

The country’s public health delivery system collapsed in 2000 after qualified health personnel left en masse to neighbouring countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique in search of better working conditions.

Source : New Zimbabwe