Govt must avert a health catastrophe

HARARE - The closure of clinics run by the Premier Services Medical Investment (PSMI) — on the back of the failure by government to remit millions of dollars to the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas), is a serious injustice to civil servants who form the bulk of the society’s membership.

This is a travesty of justice which has origins from government which has exacerbated the problems at Psmas by meddling in the society’s affairs.

Doctors at Psmi clinics and hospitals have gone on strike resulting in a paralysis of the services which thousands of civil servants rely on for their medical purposes.

The strike is a result of late salaries which, apart, from doctors, support staff, has been failing to access on time because government is failing to pay up.

Doctors at the clinics and hospitals have not been paid for five months owing to non-remittances of funds from government despite deducting it from their salaries which is a violation of their rights.

Psmi is an investment arm of Psmas and runs clinics and hospitals and since January, government has not remitted $44 million collected from civil servants, who make the bulk of the clients at the country’s biggest medical insurer.

Let alone, government last year, failed to remit $94,6 million owed to Psmas which means that Treasury must pay the medical insurer, more than $138 million most of which is for paying service providers and salaries for the 2000 workers at PSMI.

What is disconcerting is that government has failed to act on the malpractices and poor corporate governance at Psmas decisively despite mounting evidence showing there is need for intervention.

Instead, it has come in but taking sides with employees accused of contributing to the maladministration and violation of good corporate governance at the beleaguered medical insurer.

Strangely, the same government has looked the other way when the board which is trying to save Psmas , has raised a red flag over irregular payments to Health and Child Care minister — David Parirenyatwa  and alleged poor corporate governance by suspended managing director Henry Mandishona.

It all looked like things were getting back to normal during Mandishona’s absence as pharmacies were being stocked up but all hell broke loose when ministers bizarrely took sides with the suspended Psmas boss.

But the Psmas clients should take comfort from the minister of Labour, Priscah Mupfumira’s initiatives to try and find a peaceful solution to the crisis through engaging the board and allowing them to push through their mandate of restoring sanity at the organisation.

We pray that Mupfumira, although she does not legally preside over Psmas, and the organisation’s board will find time to discuss the problems affecting the biggest medical insurer in the country.

Comments (1)


Wilbert Mukori - 27 November 2015

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