Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
LACK of a transparent pricing system in the health sector is short-changing patients, the Association of Health Funders’ Association of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) has said.
Addressing an AHFoZ stakeholders’ meeting in Victoria Falls, AHfoz chief executive officer Mrs Shylet Sanyanga said bickering among healthcare service providers was stalling progress in coming up with tariffs that would have been arrived at scientifically.
She said there was a need for affordable services in the health sector.
“We need transparency in the health sector and that can only be achieved if there is a scientific tariff. Efforts to come up with one are failing because parties involved in crafting the tariff have only agreed in principle but we are failing to meet,” said Mrs Sanyanga.
She said partners such as the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA) have lately been busy.
“As AHFoZ we have made ourselves available but our colleagues are busy. We believe that to have a fair and transparent pricing system we should have a scientific tariff model,” Mrs Sanyanga said.
“Lack of progress on our part is causing a lot of suffering for patients yet we have a moral mandate to make sure patients don’t suffer.”
She said the pricing model in the country was the reason why people end up seeking medical treatment in neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Malawi and South Africa where charges are relatively lower, a concern also raised at the ZiMA conference last month.
Mrs Sanyanga expressed concern over the “stagnant” number of people on medical cover which she said has been slightly above one million for four years yet claims keep rising despite the cake not growing.
She appealed to the Government to find a way of encouraging citizens to obtain medical insurance cover.
Mrs Sanyanga said many seek to be covered when they reach 60 years which isn’t feasible as one needs to contribute towards a pool before benefiting.
She also bemoaned the ever increasing number of service providers against a smaller number of clients.
Officially opening the meeting, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, whose speech was read on his behalf by his deputy Dr Adrian Musiiwa, said Government was aware of the challenges facing healthcare funders and was committed to addressing them.
“The health sector is receiving only half of what it requires and this has an impact on service delivery. The Government is doing what it can to address economic challenges and it requires the full support of all sectors,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.