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Medical boost for artists


MEDICAL and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) president and Westview Clinics proprietor Johannes Marisa has urged local artists to register with a medical facility which offers discount rates.

Marisa, who is also a music promoter, has pledged to support the medical facility spearheaded by Bulawayo-based comedian Dumisani “MaForty” Ndlovu in partnership with the arts motherbody National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ).

After realising that a number of artists were struggling with medical bills, MaForty negotiated a deal with a Bulawayo medical aid company where artists from Matabeleland access discounted medical services.

The initiative, that seeks to assist artists access health services and products at discounted rates, is attracting more partners, thereby spreading to five towns so far namely Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Gwanda.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Marisa said together with doctors under MDPPZA they would provide affordable healthcare for players in the arts industry.

“I am so happy to be part of this initiative by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and all those involved.

“This is a very noble idea considering that our artists are faced with a lot of challenges as many are incapacitated financially due to COVID-19 that has induced a ban on their performances and as a result they struggle to get medical assistance which is vital at the moment,” he said.

Marisa said this initiative would save a lot of lives.

“It seems so many artists are not insured medically at the moment, leaving them highly vulnerable as accessibility to medical care becomes a challenge in times of need.

“Those who are still healthy and flourishing may not see the importance of medical insurance, but medical challenges are faced by everyone anytime on any day,” he said.

“Forming such a solid and affordable medical insurance facility that caters for all the registered artists in times of need is a noble idea.

“We will support our artistes, guaranteeing affordable healthcare to the arts industry as we hope to prosper and continue to shine.”

Marisa said local artists had become part of his family.

“I am coming on board to offer such services at discounted rates to bona fide registered artists.

“It has always been my desire, resources permitting us, to do more to promote and preserve our artists’ legacy,” he said.

“To register, artists require certified copies of their identity documents and birth certificates for their children. Registration is to be approved within 72 hours after all information supplied has been verified and a confirmation letter is provided to the artists by the NACZ provincial offices.”

MaForty said medical service providers in various towns had agreed to come on board and offer products and services to artists at reduced rates.

“We have been negotiating with medical practitioners, pharmacies and laboratories so that artists can access consultation services, drugs and laboratory tests at discounted rates and I am happy that we have found co-operating partners in Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Gwanda”, he said.

“The facility has expanded to include the spouses and children of artists who are less than 18 years for services accessed in Bulawayo, Gweru, Gwanda and Mutare at the moment. To access the facilities, artists have to register for the scheme with the NACZ provincial offices in the towns.”

The comedian said to date over 30 artists had registered in Bulawayo and he was optimistic that more artists would register for the service.

“Arts journalists can also register under the same facility, they only need a letter from their respective editors and a valid Press card to be able to benefit from the scheme.

“Registration for the facility is free and ongoing, allowing artists to register at any time at their convenience,” he said.

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