Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
VICE-President and Minister of Health and Child Care Retired General Dr Costantino Chiwenga has challenged players in the health sector to collaborate in the procurement of medical consumables and equipment to reduce operating costs and enhance access to healthcare services by clients.
He said this in a speech read by deputy Health Minister Dr John Mangwiro while officially opening the Private Healthcare Association of Zimbabwe (PHAZ) conference in Victoria Falls last Friday.
PHAZ rebranded from Private Hospitals of Zimbabwe which focused on private hospitals and clinics, and now includes all private health sector players including funders, medical aid organisations, manufacturers and suppliers of medical sundries.
Dr Chiwenga said bulk procurement will reduce operating costs and also the cost of health services for ordinary citizens who mostly struggle to access medical care as costs are beyond reach of many.
“As a ministry we support the association and we would like to encourage the private hospitals, as many as you are, to work as one, for example, in importing equipment which is common to you all.
Let’s now work as a group and order together.
“I am sure if you organise yourselves and buy your medicines and equipment in bulk it will be faster and cheaper, and it will be easier for the ministry to support you or even to approach the Reserve Bank or Ministry of Finance to support you in your endeavours to bring in your stuff,” he said.
Dr Chiwenga implored PHAZ to also work with local manufacturers to promote local production of medical supplies which will also reduce cost of health service.
He said patients will find it easy to get services under one roof.
Dr Chiwenga bemoaned loss of frontline health workers because of Covid-19 and brain drain.
He reiterated Government commitment to ensuring that health frontliners are well equipped to be able to execute their duties and prevent cross contamination.
Dr Chiwenga encouraged health stakeholders to embrace dialogue to solve issues affecting the medical industry in Zimbabwe, adding that Government does not condone co-payments and shortfalls, nor is it happy to impose tariff structures.
Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo said there is need to take stock of the health situation in the country especially the need to develop state-of-the-art medical infrastructure.
PHAZ chairman Dr Timothy Goche concurred about the need for collaboration.
“We are excited about the call for bulk buying as economies of scale will come into play.
We are looking forward to getting medical commodities, surgical consumables, drugs, equipment at a lower price as we procure together and this will also have a ripple effect to our stakeholders who are the clients to access health services at a lower cost,” he said.
PHAZ was formed in 1996 and has 50 members.