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Drugs, health care now priced in US dollar

THE Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) says medical aid societies and pharmacies have started demanding payment in United States dollars, compromising health, quality of life and labour productivity.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

The association said it had received reports that some medical practitioners and hospitals had started demanding payment for drugs and healthcare services in foreign currency.
In a statement yesterday, AHFoZ said the pricing decision was motivated by the desire to “preserve value.”

Instead, the association said medical aid societies would rather consider asking employers to pay their subscriptions in US dollars.

“AHFoZ urges its members to monitor the situation with a view to approaching employer organisations to request that medical aid subscriptions be paid in US dollars, so that service providers may be paid in US dollars and their members be able to access healthcare services without inconvenience,” AHFoZ said in a statement.

Zimbabwe is currently faced with a severe shortage of drugs owing to a crashing crisis of foreign currency, which has crippled imports.

AHFoZ also expressed concern that there was no mention of healthcare products in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s list of strategic imports eligible for $500 million import facilities.

The association urged the RBZ to prioritise pharmaceutical supplies and other healthcare consumables in the allocation of foreign currency.

AHFoZ said there have been reports of severe shortages of essential drugs.

The organisation also said some pharmacies had also started charging for medication in United States dollars.

Those with chronic conditions could suffer complications due to difficulties in accessing their prescribed medication.

This, according to AHoZ, could compromise health, quality of life and labour productivity as a sick workforce is not productive.

source: newsday

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