By Portia Sigauke
Members of Parliament say the decision by the Zimbabwe Medical Aid to disregard medical aid cards and demand cash upfront from patients was in breach of the constitution that clearly states that everyone is entitled to medical attention.
Legislator said demanding cash from patients in this cash-strapped market by doctors was unrealistic.
The legislators made the plea while contributing to a motion moved by Mabvuku legislator James Maridadi last week.
In Zimbabwe the cheapest rate of a medical aid is about US$14 per month for individuals. Their most expensive is US$321 dollars a month for individuals.
While ZiMA announced that 1.2 million people are on medical aid out of the 13 million-population making it as if no Zimbabwean is then able to access medical attention without cash.
He said despite medical treatment being a fundamental right, patients get turned away despite being on medical insurance.
“I think our Constitution is very clear that everybody is entitled to medical attention. What ZiMA is doing is totally unacceptable and turning away patients who have medical cards is a total infringement of section 76 of the Constitution that states that medical treatment was a fundamental human right.
“The money is just not available, especially more-so now where there is no cash in the market. Where can a person get US$60 for consultation,” charged Maridadi.
Chegutu West legislator Dexter Nduna said ZiMA should stop allaying fears to people as it is speaking for itself not all doctors.
“Zimbabwe Medical Association is an association mainly of general practitioners. So, when ZiMA is speaking, they are not talking on behalf of all the health care givers in the country, they are speaking on behalf of a group of medical doctors. They cannot give a statement of all the doctors in the country,” he said.
Nduna urged the Health Minister Dr. David Parirenyatwa to make a public pronouncement on ZiMA fears.
“I need to make a prayer that the Minister needs to come in and make a public pronouncement or give a Ministerial Statement to allay the fears because information is power and I shudder to think what my grandmother in Gokwe is thinking about now when she hears over the radio or through media that there is no more allowance or receipt for the medical aid cards,” he said.
Warren Park legislator Eng. Elias Mudzuri said asked Dr. Parirenyatwa to explain the link between the insurance company, the doctors and the hospital for the masses to understand the clear state of Zim Health institutions.