Implementation of Free Health Services in Western Highlands

The people of Western Highlands should by now be receiving free primary health care services when visiting respective health facilities in the province.

The Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA) through a circular to all health facilities in the province on 17th March 2014 instructed that effective immediately, the government’s Free Health Care Policy be implemented.

Chief Executive Officer of the WHPHA, Dr. James Kintwa told a news conference recently that the Government had issued a directive for primary health care services to be provided free of charge throughout the country and as a government agency, the WHPHA was required to implement it.

Dr. Kintwa said the government had made available funds to all health agencies in the country last year to implement this policy and the WHPHA was now using it to provide free treatment for primary health services such as coughs, headaches, fever etc.

He said however that not all services would be free, adding that patients would still pay for advanced tertiary services such as surgical operations at subsidized costs of between 50 to 75 per cent.

“Services in our rural health facilities are now free. There should be no fees charged at all but if patients are still paying, they should report that to me by calling my executive officer on telephone number 73018397”, he said.

Dr. Kintwa said the WHPHA had made available funds for all rural health facilities in the province to implement the free health policy and there should be no fees charged at all by any facility.

He also said that whilst it may be good to provide free health service, it does not make people feel responsible for their health and do not appreciate it.

“When you pay for your health you appreciate it and when you don’t pay, you do not appreciate it. People must be responsible for their own health and should pay.

“When they know that it will cost them something to keep themselves healthy, they will look after themselves and avoid getting sick. We must all share the responsibility for our health as nothing is free”, Dr. Kintwa said adding that there was always a cost involved in everything.