12 April 2017

Zimbabwe: Rural Folks to Use Livestock As Health Cover

Photo: The Guardian
Stethoscope (file photo).

Cabinet has approved a framework under the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme that will result in people in rural communities using livestock for health cover, a Government official has said.

The scheme will also target those not formally employed, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira revealed on Monday.

Addressing the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare 2017 strategic review workshop, Minister Mupfumira said the move would spread access to healthcare to rural, mining and farming communities.

"As Government, it is our responsibility to ensure that the vulnerable, the less privileged and those not formally employed have access to medical services," she said.

Minister Mupfumira said the process had already been activated with the approval of Cabinet, while subsequent processes of drafting the Bill before taking it to Parliament by the end of the year were underway.

The scheme will include a voluntary component targeting the informally employed, who will make their contributions at prescribed intervals.

"We will be consulting our social partners, labour and business to ensure that at the end of the day we have a product that will include more of our people," said Minister Mupfumira.

"This National Health Insurance Scheme will target the informally employed in the agriculture sector and those in the rural areas.

"They can even trade in their goats or chickens to cover for their health needs in a particular year."

Minister Mupfumira said the scheme had to be affordable to the masses, adding that most people in rural, mining and agriculture communities had no access to health services.

Medical aid societies cover only those who are in formal employment, which translates to a few.

Minister Mupfumira revealed that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with their South African counterparts to improve cooperation in the management of migrant workers.

Zimbabwe has a number of its people living and working in South Africa.

The MoU is a culmination of South Africa President Jacob Zuma's visit last year that was aimed at strengthening bilateral relations.

Turning to her ministry, Minister Mupfumira said it did well in ensuring that no one starved through the drought mitigation programmes.

At least 852 000 households translating to about four million people have been receiving food assistance since year.

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