Above: Dr Nicholas Munyonga, the AHFoZ Chairman welcoming delegates to the 2013 AHFoZ Conference and setting the tone for the conference proceedings.
Report by: Enock Musungwini – AHFoZ Public Relations Officer
VICE-President Joice Mujuru has called on the public and private sectors to work together and improve the quality of the country’s health delivery system.In a speech read on her behalf by the chairman of the Health Services Board, Dr Lovemore Mbengeranwa, during the official opening of the Association of Health Care Funders in Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) annual stakeholders conference in Victoria Falls on Wednesday evening, Vice President Mujuru said the public and private sectors needed to have a common agenda for the benefit of the country.
“I am also aware that AHFoZ in liaison with the Health Services Board is helping impart skills on appropriate medical aid claims billing to the employees working in public institutions.
This is ongoing. Such training assists in revenue collection from patients on medical aid,” she said. VP Mujuru said the Government prioritised the prevention as well as treatment of non-communicable diseases and called for greater monitoring, awareness and management efforts to prevent premature deaths from those diseases.
“I am informed that the Ministry of Health through the Joint Advisory Council has been presiding over tariff negotiations and also monitoring the operations of medical aid societies. This unfortunately has resulted in the de-registration of one of the funders due to non compliance.
This de-registration was enforced by the ministry. Looking into the future it is necessary to put in place guidelines for registered health funders so that members are not inconvenienced when medical aid societies default,” she said.
VP Mujuru said the Government would create a conducive pricing environment in order to protect the patient’s rights to access health care and not let market forces dictate pricing. She said the Government was making efforts to attract back the skilled medical personnel from the Diaspora.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare through its Health Professionals Council is working towards ensuring timeous processing of applications for registrations of returning Zimbabwean healthcare professionals. By increasing our skills base, many benefits will accrue to the nation through better choices of care, reduction in costs and improvement of quality of care,” said VP Mujuru.
In her opening remarks, AHFoZ chief executive Mrs Shylet Sanyanga said health care funders should not just collect money and pay out like typical intermediaries but should also pursue health outcomes of their members.
Mrs Sanyanga said employers, funders and service providers should step up public education efforts on all pertinent issues so that they appreciate the operations of healthcare funders.
The conference, which was running under the theme, “Taking steps towards completing the healthcare puzzle” was attended by local health experts as well as representatives from Malawi, Lesotho, South Africa and Zambia.