A 48-year-old Nyamapanda teacher has said he was pained when a PSMAS clinic in Harare asked him to pay US$30 on top of his monthly contribution, to get his son treated.
Mairos Nyangani earns approximately ZW$60 000 (around US$150) a month in basic salary.
He deducts ZW$1 030 (US$2.63) as medical aid for himself, his wife Charity (42), and three children, Onesimor (17), Patricia (14), and Makaita (9).
Nyangani, a member of PSMAS, which he joined as soon as he began work in 2007 narrated to the Independent what transpired when he took his asthmatic son, Onesimor to a PSMAS clinic in Harare:
I could not bring him here for assistance. The local hospital and clinics were empty, and the health workers were hardly able to assist. They all have a new byword — incapacitation. My plan was to take him to Harare, which is the nearest place I can access a Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) clinic.
I was not prepared for what met my eyes when I got to the Psmas clinic. The staff was not helpful. It seemed they were not willing to attend to us. We later found out they had not been paid and were demonstrating through slow service. Eventually, I was referred to another service provider who asked me to pay a US$30 co-payment “because Psmas haisi kutibhadhara (Psmas is not paying us). On my salary, I cannot raise this kind of money. All this time, my son was breathing as if he was in the corridors of death. All I could think of was, ‘My medical aid is dying and now, so is my child’.
He expressed disappointment over reports that some shareholders at PSMAS were fighting for control of the service provider instead of ensuring that members were receiving better services.
There are allegations that PSMAS which announced during a Press conference in April that it had received ZW$6 billion (US$15.3 million) in 2021, was abusing funds.
Public Service Commission (PSC), through its Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, said this amount should have been sufficient to ensure quality service for Psmas members.
Meanwhile, an analysis of the figures indicated that the PSC was paying around ZW$1 800 (US$4.60) per month per member, which came up to around ZW$21 600 (US$55) per year.