Govt concerned by the huge shortfalls for patients at points of care

By Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

GOVERNMENT is working towards ensuring patients on medical aid get access to health services without paying excessive shortfalls as it moves in to guarantee universal health coverage for its citizens.

This came out at the official opening of the Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe Annual All Stakeholders’ Conference on Health in Victoria Falls this Friday.

In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Dr John Mangwiro, Vice President General (Retired) Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care said the excessive shortfalls on medical aid is retrogressive towards the attainment of key outcomes enunciated in the National Development Strategy One.

“As government, we are concerned by the exchange rate disparities which are resulting in huge shortfalls for patients at the point of care. The ministry is committed to creating a situation whereby card carrying patients can access services without having to pay excessive shortfalls as this becomes a deterrent and is retrogressive to the objectives of medical insurance. Medical aid cards should serve their purpose. These challenges should be resolved so that all cards for bona fide members serve their purpose,” he said.

Delegates at the conference agreed on the need for continued dialogue between stakeholders to ensure access to health care for all.

“There is need for stakeholder engagements, each player in the ecosystem needs to understand their role in the whole process because the funds that are used to pay medical aid claims come from salaries so there is need for continued adjustments and dialogue beneficial to everyone,” said the chief executive officer of the Association of Health Care Funders Association of Zimbabwe, Mrs Shylet Sanyanga.

WHO country representative, Mr Alex Gasasira said, “The deliberations we had on NDS1 provide for everyone to contribute towards universal health coverage. We have heard very challenging conversations during the past two days on how we can mobilise resources and how we can make use of the resources that we already have.

“As the World Health Organisation, we are committed to take the important conversations that we have has here beyond and we commit ourselves to working with you and the leadership at the Ministry of Health and Child Care so that we have concrete results in the different areas that were raised.”

Participants at the three day conference, which ended this Friday, were drawn from a cross section of stakeholders in the health-care supply chain as government continues to improve and revamp the country’s health care sector.