BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
Medical players in private practice have been urged to create partnerships and synergies with the government to save the country’s deteriorating healthcare system.
Speaking at a Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) fundraising dinner on Friday, Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro conceded that the situation in public hospitals was desperate.
The country’s deepening economic crisis has over the years affected government’s ability to fund public healthcare and this has crippled the health sector.
“Why don’t you come as private medical practitioners and partner the government so that we save the situation in our public hospitals,” Mangwiro said.
“Let’s work in groups and come to government and say ‘we need to take up a ward at Parirenyatwa as private players, or you can even run the casualty section at the public hospitals in groups.
“This will also help those doctors in training gain experience from you. Let’s encourage partnership among ourselves.
“Encourage that philanthropic work among practitioners.”
Mangwiro said public private partnerships were a tried and tested strategy that has been implemented in countries such as India whose healthcare system is among the top-ranked globally.
“Apart from rendering your services at public hospitals, government can facilitate further training of private medical practitioners in countries like India. It’s possible we can assist you as government as we seek to improve healthcare,” he said.
The deputy minister said private medical players were also pivotal in fighting illicit drug use.
“We have a big problem of drugs in this country.
“We all know that many of our children are dying because of drug or substance abuse,” Mangwiro said.
“As medical players I feel we have a role to play because this is a medical problem in our midst.
“We need to augment what government is doing in trying to eradicate illicit drug use.”
Mangwiro said government was establishing rehabilitation centres across the country to help reintegrate those using drugs.
He said government was working on statutory instruments on national health insurance.
“We have heard your challenges with medical aid societies and we need to address this urgently,” he said.
“Why shouldn’t we engage them and find a lasting solution to all these challenges.
“Government is working on a policy on national health insurance which will cover everyone.”
MDPPZA president Johannes Marisa said members of his association were struggling to finance their operations as some medical societies were delaying payments or not paying at all.
“There are general delays in the reimbursement of our funds after sending claims to these medical societies,” Marisa said.
“There are also some medical aid societies that don’t even pay, and you wonder how they get their operating licences when they don’t pay health covers.
“We have been clamouring to have engagements with these medical aid societies and the arrogance shown by some of them is too much.”
Marisa said they will soon write to President Emmerson Mnangagwa seeking to have their members exempted from paying duty for imported cars and medical equipment.
Several corporates, particularly those in the health sector graced the fundraising dinner that was also attended my members of the association from across the country.