ZIMBABWE’s second largest teachers union, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) will tomorrow hold a mass demonstration against the PSMAS medical aid which they believe is shortchanging them at a time when the health sector is on its knees.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Majority of Zimbabwe’s civil servants are active PSMAS clients but indications on the ground show that their medical aids cards are being turned down at most hospitals while in most cases they are being forced to fork out the scarce United States Dollars to access treatment.
In an exclusive interview , PTUZ Harare Province Chairperson Mr Charles Tapison Mubwandarikwa said their schemes were being rejected by local health institutions.
“Our first grievance is that PSMAS cards are not accepted by hospitals and other health institutions which tell us that this medical aid society is not paying up. They say PSMAS owes them huge sums of money,” he said.
He also said the short falls they have to pay are high leaving the medical aid purposeless.
“I recently went with my wife to a pharmacy which still accepts PSMAS to get her spectacles. It was disheartening to learn that the specs were worth $750 but PSMAS only covered $250 leaving a shortfall of $500 which I am expected to pay. Where am I to get that money,” added Mr Mubwandarikwa.
Mr Mubwandarikwa also complained that pharmacies are charging in US dollars and black market foreign exchange rates.
“When buying medical drugs pharmacists demand payment in foreign currency. Where can we get it since we are paid in Bond notes? Worse still the black market rates are too high and we cannot afford that,” he said. “Our other issue against PSMAS is the lackadaisical service at some of its pharmacies.”
He said these among many other grievances are to be delivered at PSMAS tomorrow morning before proceeding to Ministry of Finance and Economic Development offices where they are demanding to be paid in forex.
Mr Arthur Choga said they are engaging all their stakeholders including teachers to solve their grievances.
Most if not all Government teachers alongside other civil servants are on the various medical aid schemes offered by PSMAS.