Jan 7 , 2023

Tirunesh Bejing, Zeweditu, Yekatit 12, and Menelik hospitals under Addis Abeba Health Bureau are prepared to reinstate the private wing services. The initiative was effective eight years ago but was terminated due to claims for lack of details.

Last year, Health Bureau officials conducted a study with experts from six hospitals to revise the directive with sections related to problems regarding service fees, costs of medical equipment and drugs that health institutions face.

Yohannes Chala (MD), head of Addis Abeba Health Bureau and his research team has revealed an increase in price tags ten times higher than the previous on 40 medical items.

The Private wing health service in public hospitals is an initiative to serve patients outside of regular working hours and during holidays at a fair price. Yohannes says its aim is for the private wing to generate income for professionals and health institutes. When it started, the idea was to help patients to get affordable health services compared to private health institutions. The hospitals also finance their operations from the revenue they collect from the service.

Ras Desta Damtew Hospital is at the top concerning the private-wing health service experience. Established in 1924, Ras Desta, located on Arbegnoch street, has provided private health services for the past seven years. However, the profit dividends between the health professionals cause disputes, according to the hospital's CEO, Teshome Hunde.

The new directive recognizes such fallouts and resurfaces after much expected due course. Among the variables, the directive set a value of dividends for each professional directing hospitals to maintain professionality and create stability.

The 75pc of the gross profit goes to health professionals; it used to be 70pc before, 15pc to administrative staff, and the remaining 10pc goes to the hospital. A one percent contribution imposed on the above three is used for the sustainability of the private wing.

On the previous directive, health professionals gained 70pc only. Out of a 100 billion Br annual budget, the City Administration allotted 6.5 billion Br to the health sector.

Ras Desta Damtew Hospital administrators receive a 300 million Br budget for the current fiscal year. Private wings, beyond being different income generation systems for health professionals, will also be a means of revenue for hospitals. With 178 beds, visited by thousands and treats all health issues under its roof.

Yohannes, head of the health bureau, claims that the revised directive will be able to adjust the service fees. He added that, on average, four folds price adjustments are made in all private health services. The service fee ranges from 50 Br to 25,000 Br for minor medical treatment to treat tonsils. According to the bureau head, the revision aims to create a win-win ground for patients and health professionals.

Yitbarek Hailu (MD) has been working for three years at Ras Desta Hospital. The maximum payment he earns is 5,000 Br per month working in the private wing. The physicians work once a week in the private wing on the hospital premises. Due to the high number of practitioners, the work turnover is once a week, but for health professionals, what they earn is fair.

CEO of Tirunesh Beijing General Hospital, Elibabour Buno (MD), said that two years ago, the hospital halted the private wing health service due to disputes concerning the dividend of profits. But this time, the hospital formed a committee to resume the service. The CEO said that a maximum of 750 patients appear to be treated on a regular working day. The hospital has 200 beds and 40 specialist doctors in the regular ward. The committee has been working to implement the wing service without affecting the everyday activities of the hospitals.

The CEO knows that almost all the hospital's medical doctors are part-time workers at private clinics or hospitals for a better income. The highest salary for medical doctors with a speciality at Tirunesh hospital is 15,395 Br per month. He believes the income raised from the private wing would increase their income and help cover some hospital expenses.

Tirunesh prepares a 200,000 Br budget to begin the private service program, he stated. Like other hospitals, it receives a budget lower by 50 million Br than it has proposed during this budget year, which is 250 million Br. The CEO agreed with Yohannes, head of the health bureau, that the program would finance and curb the shortage of medical equipment and drugs.

Gandhi Memorial Hospital, located around the street Ras Desta Damtew St, was established for maternal and children's health. The cases' urgency and need for emergency treatment at all times excluded the hospital from forming a private-wing health service structure.

The same is true for Moti Workeneh graduated from Hawassa University five years ago. He travelled to the country's Southeastern part to seek a better offer a year ago. Thus far, he did not get what he was hoping for. The salary of health officers is not much higher than 12,880 Br, said Moti. The hospital where he works has not paid him for the service he provided beyond his regular duty in the past eight months, Moti added.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 07,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1184]

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