Health

More than 90% can’t access healthcare

PHILLIMON MHLANGA

MORE than 14 million Zimbabweans, making up at least 90% of the population, are not covered by medical aid because they can’t afford it, leaving only less than 1,6 million Zimbabweans able to access the needed healthcare.

It is estimated that Zimbabwe, which is facing serious socio-economic problems, has about 16 million people. The deteriorating economy has resulted in various challenges, leaving healthcare not on top of mind for millions of Zimbabweans. The majority cannot afford it.

The ailing economy is battling acute foreign currency shortages, price escalations, hyperinflationary environment, reduction in disposable income and change in consumer behaviour patterns affecting health care decisions.

Several analysts who spoke to Business Times this week said it was unacceptable that more than 90% of the population lack coverage of the medical aid, meaning they cannot access the essential health care due to financial hardships.

Some hospitals in Zimbabwe have an unprecedented patient-doctor ratio of 0,03 per 100 patients, according to CIMAS chief executive officer, Vulindela Ndlovu, who spoke at an insurance meeting organised by Zimselector in partnership with Insurance and Pensions Commission and National Social Security Authority.

“Less than 10% of the population in Zimbabwe is covered by medical aid,” Ndlovu said.

The Ministry of Health Budget allocation is +/- 7% well below the recommended 15% per Abuja declaration. Ndlovu said under-capitalised healthcare facilities were negatively impacted by escalating costs.

“The industry is in need of infrastructure upgrades,” Ndlovu said.

Many have been pushed into extreme poverty because of the deteriorating economic conditions, which has resulted in them failing to afford health expenses. The few that are still members of medical aid societies, say they are battling shortfalls, co-payments, high contributions, shortage of critical specialists

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