Thursday 7 September 2023


VICE-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga (pictured) has lashed out at medical aid societies and health service providers for shortchanging patients and implored employers to pay contributions on time.

Speaking during the ongoing 14th edition of the Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) annual stakeholders’ conference in Victoria Falls, VP Chiwenga, who was represented by Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Amon Murwira, blasted medical aid societies for poor service delivery and overcharging subscribers.

“We urge the Association of Healthcare Funders and all its members to provide efficient service delivery and not just take people’s money with no services being provided. It is important for us as citizens to have confidence and take ownership of our systems,” he said.

“Surely it is not only unfair but criminal to take subscriptions when you know well that you are unable to provide the services for which you will have been paid for. Patients are crying foul over shortfalls on almost every transaction. This is an area that requires immediate attention.”

Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, implored employers to also play their part by paying contributions on time.

He said as the regulator, Government will be incorporating into requirements, the need for medical aid societies’ leadership to undergo continuous professional development programmes annually.

He commended AHFoZ for introducing the ICD10 coding saying it’s a welcome development and all service providers will be required to migrate to the system to guard against fraud and provide efficient service.

VP Chiwenga called on health funders and service providers to invest in innovation and training to enhance quality primary and specialist healthcare to help reduce costs associated with access to drugs.

He said the conference, running under the theme “Health at Turning Point” presents an opportunity to share experiences and deliver healthcare services to citizens.

VP Chiwenga said Government is committed to providing universal health coverage and improving the quality of life by 2030.

He said Zimbabwe’s health care system is delivered at five service platforms namely high-level research quinary hospitals, central/ quaternary/teaching hospitals, tertiary/provincial and general hospitals, district hospitals, and primary health care centres.

These are supported by eight pillars in which Government is involved.

The eight pillars are governance and regulatory framework, workforce, hospitals, healthcare financing, logistics, pharmaceutical industry, biomedical equipment industry and health information systems.

“Overarching the Zimbabwe National Health Systems is the governance and regulations which provide an enabling legal environment for private sector participation in the national health care system. These eight pillars permeate both the public and private sectors of Zimbabwe’s Health care system,” said VP Chiwenga.

“Funding of health has to be done within the context of the eight pillars and within the context of activities that constitute the health landscape. It is important to know how the health funders are involved in this issue of knowledge systems so that we lower the costs.”

VP Chiwenga said Government has made significant achievements in the health sector by leveraging on the eight pillars. Some of the achievements, he said, are that almost 96 percent of public health facilities in Zimbabwe have at least 80 percent of essentials in stock.

Local manufacturing of medicines has been resuscitated with 13 pharmaceutical companies producing finished products.

Government has established state-of-the-art warehousing and transportation for the country’s medicines while hospitals are being equipped with advanced biomedical equipment.

Measures are being implemented to reduce health worker attrition while health worker training has been scaled up by increasing the number of training schools.

VP Chiwenga said there is significant development of health infrastructure in the country notably the ongoing construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital in Matabeleland North among others.

He said Government takes seriously resolutions by private sector players in policy making and the broader objectives towards achieving an upper-middle-income society by 2030.

AHFoZ chief executive Mrs Shylet Sanyanga said the conference is being attended by guests from Zimbabwe, the UK and Nigeria among others.

She said inflation, exchange rate disparities, shortfalls, and other issues were the major challenges facing the health sector.

The conference, which started on Wednesday with an innovation workshop, ends today. Herald


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