HEALTH and Child Care minister, David Parirenyatwa yesterday challenged Cimas Medical Aid Society to come up with products which can tap into the informal sector that accounts for a majority of the population.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Statistics show that medical aid societies support only 10% of the national population, leaving 90% who are not on any medical cover.
Speaking at the Cimas health expo and 70th anniversary celebrations held in Harare yesterday, Parirenyatwa said medical aid societies played an important role in making health services accessible to their members by taking away the financial burden.
“Despite this, the majority of people do not belong to any medical aid society. They have to fund their own healthcare completely from their own resources, which are often meagre,” he said.
“This is why I have spoken of the need to introduce a national health insurance scheme that can give the most vulnerable in our society access to health.
“I would encourage Cimas to see what it can do to extend its membership further to the huge numbers of people who could benefit from its medical aid packages but who are not employed in the formal sector.”
Parirenyatwa said expanding and improving health services and making them available to all, was one of the major priorities of the government.
He, however, said the health sector had suffered major setbacks, largely due to sanctions and foreign currency shortages during the hyperinflationary period, which made the importation of medical equipment and drugs difficult.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe executive director John Mufukare said employers were proud to be associated with Cimas and all health care providers, as a healthy worker was happy and more productive.
He expressed concern at disagreements between medical funders and health services providers where beneficiaries were asked to pay cash upfront to be treated, defeating the whole purpose of having a medical aid cover.
Cimas chairperson Mordecai Mahlangu said the society in the first 36 years of its history, had a single medical aid package — the general package. But now it boasts of five packages, namely basicare, primary, general, private hospital and medexec.
“That means we now have packages suitable for people from all socio-economic groups,” Mahlangu said.
“Cimas has also developed various health services in response to health care needs and demands of its members and on request from stakeholders in the health sector.”