HEALTH Minister David Parirenyatwa humiliated Mpilo Central Hospital CEO Leonard Mabhande in front of invited guests ordering him to stop charging any fees to breast cancer patients on a screening machine that was donated by the National Aids Council (NAC).
This was after Mabhande told guests that they were going to be charging $25 (for a pair) breast cancer screening during the commissioning of the half million dollar mammogram machine at Mpilo.
Mabhande had justified the fee saying breast cancer screening at other institutions cost $50.
"We are not going to be using the normal rates for our patients; we are going to be charging $25 so that they are affordable," said Mabhande.
"For those on the Medical Aid, we are going to be charging the Association of Health Care Funders rates, $50 per pair (breast) but we are going to be charging $25 per pair for all others."
But this did not go down well with Parirenyatwa who asked why charge such "high fees" when they are using a mammogram machine donated and being maintained by NAC.
"It will be pointless to have such a wonderful machine and fail to serve its purpose due to the exorbitant fees," said the Health Minister.
"This machine has been donated by NAC and it is going to be maintained by the council, so where is your justification for charging such a fee to the poor woman?"
He added, "I tell you, it will not be easy for everywoman to afford that $25, those who cannot pay should be assisted after vetting them."
"So, the procedure here is we want as many women to benefit as possible so when there are going to do this breast screening, the procedure is going to be free."
The mammogram machine becomes the 3rd in the country's hospitals after one Harare and the Mutare general hospitals got their supplies recently.
According to Zimbabwe Cancer Registry, breast cancer is the second most cancer affecting women in the country with over 7000 women diagnosed and over 1 500 dying each year.