Health and Child Care Minister, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has expressed gratitude over the role played by medical aid societies since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officially opening the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) annual conference in Victoria Falls last Friday, Chiwenga said the funders played a role in education and awareness campaigns.
“My ministry appreciates the role of the private sector to rebuild the healthcare sector through complementing Government in the provision of accessible and affordable quality healthcare services for our people.
“It is common cause that when Covid-19 was first detected in the country, Government immediately announced the guidelines for prevention and triggered all systems into motion. AHFoZ came on board and took part in the education and awareness campaigns.
“As soon as vaccination became available, the Government embarked on a massive vaccination programme and again medical aid societies voluntarily supported the vaccination. When Government invited you the private sector to participate in the programme, medical aid societies willingly embraced the challenge to enhance access to vaccines by their beneficiaries and members of the community at large. I urge medical aid societies to continue supporting the Government in these endeavors. We are in this together,” said Chiwenga.
In her remarks AHFoZ chief executive officer, Shylet Sanyanga said the pandemic had disrupted subscriptions and there was a surge in respiratory illness.
“The pandemic has had devastating effects on the world of work, which has resulted in disruption of subscriptions and processing of claims and has affected the performance of medical aid societies. Covid-19 has put a tremendous strain on the health sector, both private and public, as well as the medical aid industry.
“According to our statistics, 69% of healthcare funders experienced a surge in respiratory illness attributed to Covid-19 among their members since the first case was diagnosed in March 2020. The proportion of respiratory related claims to total claims expenditure is estimated to have increased by at least 12% to reach 28%from the pre-Covid-19 levels of 16%. The rise in respiratory claims adversely affected about 17% of healthcare funders who had to resort to
drawing from their reserves to finance claims expenditure,” said Sanyanga.