THE Medical Aid Society of Central Africa (Masca) has partnered with South Africa's Medshield Medical Society to introduce a scheme which is aimed at assisting Zimbabweans to access proper medical examination and treatment.
The Medshield/Masca scheme will see Masca members being able to access treatment in South Africa.
The scheme will begin operating in October this year.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme in Bulawayo last week, Masca Corporate Services manager, David Riley said due to the scarcity of professional skills in the medical industry and the shortage of equipment, patients have had to endure conventional operations with many being referred to South Africa for modern procedures.
"In most cases, members have to pay the practitioner up front and then on their return apply for refunds meaning that they have to raise the money before they leave, which is inconvenient," said Riley.
"Because of these problems, Masca has over the last six months been negotiating a partnership with Medshield Medical Aid Society to eliminate these adversities and establish a cheaper, expeditious, convenient and more comprehensive package for our members."
Riley said benefits of the scheme included unlimited surgery and ancillaries, evacuation to South Africa and delivery of drugs at people's doorsteps in Zimbabwe.
It also offers free transportation within South Africa. He said the scheme had no age limit and covered about 26 chronic conditions. The partnership will cover two facets namely primary care in Zimbabwe covering acute conditions by Masca and Medshield covering hospitalisation and other medical undertakings in South Africa.
Contributions are pegged at US$160 for a principal member, US$135 for an adult dependent and US$75 for a child.
Medshield's chief operating officer, Alet Opperman said the organisation had 90 265 principal members with an average age of 51 and a total of 201 811 members in South Africa.
Zimbabwe's health sector has suffered economic and politically induced setbacks such as shortage of equipment and medical professionals due to skills flight and scarcity of drugs.