By Staff Reporter
Local debt and development advocacy group, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) has expressed concern over developments at the troubled health insurance parastatal Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS).
PSMAS, the largest medical aid society in Zimbabwe is struggling to settle bills for its contributors, pay employees and provide medication at its service centres which are run by its subsidiary Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI).
In a statement, ZIMCODD said the problems at PSMAS are a result of poor administration associated with corruption scandals.
“ZIMCODD is deeply concerned by the developments at Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) which covers all public servants. As a result, many PSMI clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies were shut down. For instance, in 2022, PSMI closed its flagship hospitals i.e. West End (Harare) and Claybank (Gweru), after failing to pay salaries for staff including nurses and doctors for three (3) months.
“While it is inconceivable that the government’s contribution (80%) per civil servant to the PSMAS health scheme which is largely in ZWL is no longer economical, the bigger problems at PSMAS are emanating from its maladministration just as the case with the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), a public pension scheme. PSMAS is associated with big corruption scandals for a long time,” said ZIMCODD.
The coalition implored the public medical insurer to among other issues strengthen its internal control systems.
“While ZIMCODD acknowledges the forensic auditing currently underway at PSMAS, we make the following recommendations so that the right to healthcare is afforded to all and sundry: All public offenders irrespective of their gender, race, tribe, religion, or political identity must face the full wrath of the law. All PSMAS top executives must operate under strict performance-based contracts with periodic reviews.
“The public medical insurer, PSMAS, must strengthen its internal control systems, revenue management, debt recovery, portfolio management, management of other health insurance risks, timely auditing of annual financial accounts, and robust implementation of all audit recommendations.
“The responsible line ministry must ensure that there is maximization of value for money in all PSMAS procurement processes and procedures. These measures are key in safeguarding public health insurance scheme which is regarded as one of the best weapons a government can use to reduce poverty and vulnerability,” said the Coalition.