Source: Free medical treatment for vulnerable groups – Sunday News December 31, 2017
Loveness Mpofu, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has reaffirmed its commitment to providing free medical services to senior citizens, pregnant women, children under the age of five and has instructed public health institutions to remove all forms of payment for them.
Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa yesterday said his ministry had identified three major vulnerable groups who were to get free treatment and these are children under the age of five, all maternal cases and senior citizens above the age of 65.
“Any country and any government should be committed to look after the vulnerable. In Zimbabwe, we have identified three major vulnerable groups who should get free medical treatment, these are children under the age of five, pregnant women and senior citizens above the age of 65,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa said it had always been Government policy to offer free medical treatment to those groups although it was not being enforced properly. He said protecting the vulnerable in the country was supposed to be the mandate of a progressive Government.
He said enforcing the provision of free treatment to the vulnerable groups was to try and reduce infant and maternal mortality rates which was part of his 100-day plan.
“The reason behind identifying those particular groups is because we have since been trying to lower the infant mortality rate, as many children below the age of five die mostly from diarrhoea, pneumonia, malnutrition while others die from immunisable diseases,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
“We have also been trying to put down maternal deaths. We are aware that in rural areas such as Binga, Ntabazinduna, Nkayi, pregnant women default going for check-ups, some go to the clinic when it’s late, or they have complications which might kill both the baby and the mother.
“We therefore want women to deliver safely and have healthy babies,” he said.
The minister said everyone including those who have medical aid schemes and in a position to cover the medical bills should pay on their own.