WASHINGTON D.C. —
Unions representing Zimbabwe’s civil servants say their members are failing to access quality healthcare as the Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) continues to struggle.
President Takavafira Zhou of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe says members are suffering as the government and the PSMAS play a blame game.
“The situation is very bad to such an extent that our members are even being forced to turn to traditional healers as they no longer get for example, medication for free,” he said.
“There’s wanton corruption and looting at PSMAS and on the other hand PSMAS will tell you when you complain that the government is not remitting funds that are being deducted from our members. So, someone is diverting those resources and the civil servant is the one suffering.”
Former PSMAS chief executive officer, Cuthbert Dube, who was forcibly retired by the board for earning over US$500,000 per month, was largely blamed for driving the medical institution into the ground.
Coupled with the government’s involvement in the PSMAS, Dube and his colleagues cost the institution a fortune as some cabinet ministers and senior staffers benefitted financially under unclear circumstances and in the long run adversely affecting operations at the medical aid society that caters more for the country’s civil servants.
A forensic audit draft report on the utilization of PSMAS funds dated February 20, 2015, and carried out by Ernst and Young, reveals looting at the medical aid society.
All this as members were failing to access medical care services. In addition, ordinary PSMAS employees were not receiving their salaries.
“We have to unite as the unions and push the government and PSMAS because this cannot be allowed to continue,” said Zhou.
“We are losing lives unnecessarily because members can no longer access quality health care under PSMAS as they used to. People have no access to drugs, sundries and doctors. There basically at the moment are no services to really talk about.”