Former Highlanders Coach Cosmos Zulu has bemoaned the emergence of medical tourists whom he said are financially crippling the country.
Speaking at a Zimpapers organised industry and commerce executive indaba in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Zulu said the new finance minister Ignatius Chombo should urgently address medical tourism which he said is suffocating the national economy.
"The new minister of finance should stop medical tourism which is killing our country. These days a lot of people including managing directors of companies shun local medical facilities and prefer to go overseas for treatment," said Zulu.
Zulu urged the government to pour more resources into the local health sector so that the country's facilities are affordable to the poor.
"Some time my daughter was involved in an accident and developed a blood clot on her head. For ten years, I tried in vain to have her treated at local hospitals until I took her to South Africa where she was treated for R25 000," said the former Bosso gaffer.
Zulu said he is saddened that poor people in this country continue to succumb to treatable diseases because of non-availability of good health facilities as well as inhibitive medical costs while the elite continue to seek treatment overseas.
President Robert Mugabe has, on numerous occasions, come under fire from political opponents who accuse the veteran leader and his family of snubbing local hospitals for those abroad when poor citizens are condemned to poor medical service back home.
Critics argue that some of the services that Mugabe would rather seek abroad are available locally, albeit too expensive.