PARLY: MPs jeer as minister claims Zim health delivery system is functional

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By Anna Chibamu

DESPITE shortages of drugs, non-availability of cancer machines and other crucial medical accessories in public health institutions, a government official on Wednesday insisted the health delivery system is performing well.

Acting leader of government business and Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira brewed a shocker when he disagreed with opposition members that the country’s health system had collapsed.

He also argued Zimbabwe had the lowest Covid-19 figures in the region.

“I do not think it only applies to cancer machines but I think the public health service delivery is collapsing,” Bulawayo MP Nicola Watson said.

During the question-and-answer session, Murwira replied that Watson’s statement could not be sustained.

“I would not agree that the health system has collapsed. That statement cannot be sustained. We would be very happy to bring a statement in Parliament. We have the lowest number of Covid-19 cases in the region,” said Murwira to jeering from opposition members.

After the minister’s response, Speaker Jacob Mudenda ordered the minister to re-phrase his statement and use the words, “On the contrary….”

MDC-A MP Virginia Mafuta had questioned the government’s policy on devolution of cancer treatment services to district hospitals and other MPs from the left bench came in with supplementary questions.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa spoke about the Public Service Medical Aid Society’s (PSMAS) failure to deliver service.

“I think with due respect, the health delivery system is not performing well. We are all paying PSMAS and money is being deducted throughout the civil service but there is nowhere to go.

“PSMAS hospitals are closed yet people are paying PSMAS every month?  What has government done to ensure that all of us who are sick can go to another hospital where we can be looked after because people are not getting the needed attention and they are dying?” 

Addressing ruling party MPs, Mliswa added, “I do not know why members of Parliament were clapping yet you know that when we are sick, we cannot fly but he is a minister and he can fly out. We have to deal with hospitals here. 

“So, I am actually ashamed that you are actually busy clapping when you know that you can die here without receiving treatment. The ministers will be flown outside.”

Majority of Zimbabweans are failing to fund their health care insurances.

Those on medical aid schemes such as PSMAS, have to pay a consultation core-payment and pay for shortfalls when seeking health care services.