Herald Correspondent
HEALTH and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has bemoaned the underfunding of healthcare by Treasury and urged companies to invest in the sector to fill in the gap. In a speech read on his behalf by the provincial medical director for Matabeleland North Dr Nyasha Masuka at the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe’ 9th All Stakeholders Conference in Victoria Falls on Wednesday, Dr Parirenyatwa said the involvement of the private sector would alleviate challenges facing the sector.

“The healthcare sector in Zimbabwe remains underfunded as the fiscus is failing to allocate 15 percent of the national Budget to the Ministry of Health as per Abuja declaration.

“This compounds on challenges of access, availability of skills and drugs. We therefore need to work together on how we can reduce the funding gap. There is need to have properly structured Public Private Partnership agreements,” he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa said his ministry would soon draft a viable Memorandum of Understanding.

“We are aware that there is ‘no free lunch’ and investors want to know ‘what’s in it for them’. I am aware that in the past some medical aid societies have partnered Government but have not benefited from the arrangements due to lack of proper business oriented MoUs,” he said.

“In that regard, my ministry will be drafting appropriate Memorandum of Understanding so that we have win-win arrangements that can attract partners to invest in the sector in partnership with government,” he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa said there was also need to come up with affordable costs for healthcare services so that the cost factor would not deter access.

“Our country will benefit if we corrected some of these fundamentals so that we attract medical tourism into the country.

“We should strive to offer high quality “Proudly Zimbabwean” Healthcare.”

Dr Parirenyatwa said Government was working on attracting Zimbabwean medical professionals working outside the country.

“The Ministry of Health through its Health Professionals Council arm is working towards ensuring applications for registrations for returning Zimbabwean healthcare personnel are processed timeously without unnecessarily frustrating applicants.

“If we increase our skills base, this will provide many benefits for the nation in terms of choice, costs and quality, among others.”

He warned medical aid societies against abuse of funds.

“Allegations of fraud and rampant abuse of medical aid funds are of concern as this has the effect of unnecessarily increasing healthcare costs,” he said.

“This should not be tolerated in our society. The law should take its course on those caught on the wrong side.”