Worries as Zim health insurance collapses

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By Lovemore Lubinda
Ordinary Zimbabweans have expressed their worries over the dwindling health insurance in Zimbabwe.

They say the situation to access health services in the country is becoming so difficult, with women heavily affected by the state.

For Langton Bunza, sending their ailing father had to be a group effort. “We could not afford to send him to a specialist in Harare. We had to travel to Karanda Hospital in Mt Darwin to get affordable service,” said Bunza.

He added, “I wonder what is going to happen to me if I fall sick.”

Shamiso Chirati of Chitungwiza Town is equally disturbed by the prevailing situation.

“When my husband was involved in an accident six months ago, the hospital had to ask cash upfront in order to start operating his badly damaged arm and leg,” said Chirati. “I am still to payback the money which I borrowed for his surgery,”

According to Zimbabwe Statistical Office 2015 demographic and health survey. The majority of women (89 percent) and 88 percent men) do not have health insurance. The most common source of insurance is one’s employer.

Zimbabwe subscribes to the universal health rights that observe that everyone has a right to the highest health standards. The right to health includes access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.

David Okello, representative of the World Health Organisation in Zimbabwe is optimistic that if the
implementation of the new Zimbabwe National health Strategy (NHS) 2016 ­2020 is done. It will shield patientsfrom catastrophic expenditure.

“We are aware that efforts are already underway to design appropriate health insurance schemes that work for those in gainful employment, and also for the unemployed.

“Entitlements to such rights include the right to a system of health protection that gives everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the highest attainable level of health,”

According to the Association of Health Providers of Zimbabwe (AHPoZ) membership of the health insurance sector has remained stagnant at 1.3 million over the past year owing to the shrinking formal sector.

The Association which relies from membership from the formal sector has been affected by the closure of many companies which has led to job losses. In the past year, the health insurance sector registered a decline in claims costs from 96 percent in 2013 to nine percent in 2012.

The situation is likely to get worse as government is considering a raft of measures to reduce its expenditure bill, with job cuts in the public sector now looming. – zwnews.com

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