The quality of service rendered by local medical aid societies has greatly deteriorated to the extent that patients are virtually failing to get access to treatment and drug facilities, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association has said.
ZHDA president Dr. Fortune Nyamande said Wednesday that the government-run Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) and CIMAS Medical Aid Society are the main culprits, adding they were taking their subscribers for granted.
“ZHDA notes with great concern the continued deterioration in the quality of services rendered by Medical Aid Societies, notably PSMAS and CIMAS,” he said. “Currently, it is now almost impossible to get urgent access to treatment and drug facilities for patients subscribing to these medical aid societies.”
Nyamande said the medical societies have departed from their core mandate of providing health insurance to concentrate on infiltrating the medical profession through illegally opening clinics and health care provision centres. “The law clearly stipulates the role of medical aid societies, the illegality of advertising medical services, and the role of health care funders, visa-vis their recent drive to employ general practitioners and some specialists.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate lack of enforcement of the law and regulations by the Ministry of Health so as to bring sanity to the conduct of Medical Aid societies,” said Nyamande. The ZHDA President added that the rot caused by medical aid societies in the country is prejudicing hundreds of thousands of patients daily and has, of late, been the most persistent demoralizing agent for health workers.
He said government must be made accountable for lives lost as a result of the failure to revitalize PSMAS and the reckless disregard for the medical profession being exhibited by CIMAS. Nyamande also questioned the ministry’s silence on the issue of Junior Doctors who were promised better salaries, provision of a duty free vehicle facility and adequate housing allowances which have not been implemented to this day.
PSMAS members are now asked to pay a core-payment (shortfall) of between US$10 and $20 before accessing services from clinics or private medical practitioners except in PSMAS clinics but long queues are the order of the day forcing members to opt for other doctors.
Recently, CIMAS increased its fees for its top two packages namely Individual Private and Individual Medexec packages.
The health ministry has been facing serious drug shortages and is donor funded but the finances are not enough according to officials from the ministry.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa recently said, “The ministry is allocated a paltry 6% from the country’s budget but, 15% would be ideal for the ministry to cover its expenditure.”
Published: 09/07/2015. By New Zimbabwe
Copyright 2007 Newzimbabwe.com