Health insurance firm, Cimas, says it is planning to expand its health facilities — including specialist facilities — with at least two targeted for launch in 2020.
Said Cimas chief executive Vulindlela Ndlovu:
“We are talking to potential funders because it needs a lot of investment, and we don’t have that kind of money ourselves. We do have plans for expansion and I hope that in the next few years we can make more progress on that.
“We do have development plans in terms of more facilities. Early next year, we are going to be opening a facility in Victoria Falls. We will also be opening another clinic in Borrowdale. But there are other more specialised facilities that we are looking at.”
Mr Ndlovu added there was nothing wrong in a health insurance player investing in health infrastructure, saying that the fact that Cimas runs its own facilities actually helps the insurer deliver an effective fully-rounded service.
The group has, however, emphasised the need for Government to effectively play its role in funding the health sector.
He said a strong public health infrastructure is vital for planning, delivering, and evaluating essential public health services. And in addition to that, Government should seriously consider a national health insurance system for the wider good.
“The Government needs to invest more in health. In the region, we are guided by the Abuja Declaration that says 15 percent of our budget allocation should be directed to health, but in the recent years we seemed to be going upwards, but you know with the budget reallocation early this year, we are down to around 7 percent.
Announcing the 2020 National Budget last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, said the local health sector will be allocated $6,5 billion next year.
The Finance Minister, while acknowledging the critical challenges facing the sector, noted that Government financing for the health sector was still far from the Abuja Declaration guidance.
“The Abuja Target remains an elusive target for the country as Government expenditure on health is still less than 15 percent, (Abuja target) over the period 2012-2019,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s health sector is facing a number of challenges including shortage of medicines, consumables and essential medical equipment, along with
overcrowding, poor diets, inadequate infrastructure and an ongoing industrial action by doctors, which also have a negative impact on health insurers in the country.
Minister Ncube has, however, said from next year, going forward, Government will prioritise building health infrastructure, including renovating both urban and rural health facilities by leveraging on public-private partnerships.