Zimbabwe’s largest private healthcare provider shuts some departments

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By Times Live

Zimbabwe’s largest private healthcare provider, Premier Services Medical Investments (PSMI), has closed down some departments of two main hospitals in the country due to cash flow challenges.

PSMI runs a chain of hospitals, clinics and laboratories with 126 service centres in 10 provinces across the country. The private healthcare provider recently announced the temporary closure of its West End Hospital casualty department in Harare until further notice, and the closure of some departments at Claybank Clinic in Gweru, Midlands province.

Workers for the private healthcare provider have gone for months without being paid. About 200 nurses, doctors, and health support staff went on strike over poor wages, poor working conditions and lack of personal protective equipment. Most of PSMI hospitals and pharmacies also have severe shortage of essential medicines.

PSMI said in a statement that the healthcare institution had been experiencing cash flow problems.

“The board acknowledges that employees have gone for three months without salaries and how the unfortunate circumstances continue to affect the employees’ wellbeing and their capacity to report for work and effectively discharge their duties.

“The challenges at PSMI have experienced for the better part of the year mainly emanate from cash flow ceilings affecting the major client Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS),” the statement read.

Meanwhile,on Tuesday,  state-owned newspaper Herald reported that the Zimbabwean government had released a $1m (R18m) financial bailout package for PSMI to restock pharmacies.

PSMI thanked the government for the bailout, adding that the “PSMI pharmacies, renal clinics, optometry practices and clinical laboratories have since received part of the imported stocks to address the perennial stock-out challenges that were affecting service delivery”.

Last month, four PSMI top executives were arrested on corruption allegations that included theft, fraud and forgery involving millions of dollars.

It was alleged the group were arrested after several months of investigations and forensic audits which suggest that the group has been swindling funds from the PSMI since 2016.