‘Zim health sec­tor short­chang­ing pa­tients’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Leonard Ncube

LACK of a trans­par­ent pric­ing sys­tem in the health sec­tor is short-chang­ing pa­tients, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Health Fun­ders’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Zim­babwe (AHFoZ) has said.

Ad­dress­ing an AHFoZ stake­hold­ers’ meeting in Vic­to­ria Falls, AHfoz chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mrs Shylet Sanyanga said bick­er­ing among health­care ser­vice providers was stalling progress in com­ing up with tar­iffs that would have been ar­rived at sci­en­tif­i­cally.

She said there was a need for af­ford­able ser­vices in the health sec­tor.

“We need trans­parency in the health sec­tor and that can only be achieved if there is a sci­en­tific tar­iff. Ef­forts to come up with one are fail­ing be­cause par­ties in­volved in craft­ing the tar­iff have only agreed in prin­ci­ple but we are fail­ing to meet,” said Mrs Sanyanga.

She said part­ners such as the Zim­babwe Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (ZiMA) have lately been busy.

“As AHFoZ we have made our­selves avail­able but our col­leagues are busy. We be­lieve that to have a fair and trans­par­ent pric­ing sys­tem we should have a sci­en­tific tar­iff model,” Mrs Sanyanga said.

“Lack of progress on our part is caus­ing a lot of suf­fer­ing for pa­tients yet we have a mo­ral man­date to make sure pa­tients don’t suf­fer.”

She said the pric­ing model in the coun­try was the rea­son why peo­ple end up seek­ing med­i­cal treat­ment in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries such as Zam­bia, Malawi and South Africa where charges are rel­a­tively lower, a con­cern also raised at the ZiMA con­fer­ence last month.

Mrs Sanyanga ex­pressed con­cern over the “stag­nant” num­ber of peo­ple on med­i­cal cover which she said has been slightly above one mil­lion for four years yet claims keep ris­ing de­spite the cake not grow­ing.

She ap­pealed to the Gov­ern­ment to find a way of en­cour­ag­ing cit­i­zens to ob­tain med­i­cal in­sur­ance cover.

Mrs Sanyanga said many seek to be cov­ered when they reach 60 years which isn’t fea­si­ble as one needs to con­trib­ute to­wards a pool be­fore ben­e­fit­ing.

She also be­moaned the ever in­creas­ing num­ber of ser­vice providers against a smaller num­ber of clients.

Of­fi­cially open­ing the meeting, Health and Child Care Min­is­ter Dr David Parireny­atwa, whose speech was read on his be­half by his deputy Dr Adrian Musi­iwa, said Gov­ern­ment was aware of the chal­lenges fac­ing health­care fun­ders and was com­mit­ted to ad­dress­ing them.

“The health sec­tor is re­ceiv­ing only half of what it re­quires and this has an im­pact on ser­vice de­liv­ery. The Gov­ern­ment is do­ing what it can to ad­dress eco­nomic chal­lenges and it re­quires the full sup­port of all sec­tors,” said Dr Parireny­atwa.— @ncubeleon.

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