Harare – Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has blasted his country's doctors, describing them as "greedy hypocrites" after the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA) announced that doctors would soon accepting medical aid on July 1, reports said on Sunday.
Speaking at the funeral of retired brigadier general Dr Felix Muchema, who died in Egypt where he was seeking medical help, Mugabe said that doctors in his country "valued money" more than the lives of their patients, New Zimbabwe reported.
Mugabe said that the current crop of doctors should put the interest of the people ahead of their own.
"We appreciate the work of doctors; they deserve to be rewarded accordingly. However, they must also understand the limitation the government is facing. We are still fighting for our liberation, there are sanctions that are affecting our capacity to hounour our obligations to workers…," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Mugabe's remarks came as the stand-off between doctors and medical insurers intensified.
According to NewsDay, the doctors' association recently said that as of next month it would no longer accept medical aid cards due to protracted unpaid claims by medical aid insures.
Health providers across the country were owed a combined amount of at least $220 million by various health insurance firms.
Reports indicated that the southern African nation had more than 20 registered health insurers serving at least 800 000 members, according to the Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ), which represented health insurance firms.
In a statement, (ZiMA) accused AHFoZ of failing to pay or delaying payments to doctors, who were nonetheless forced to pay taxes on funds they had not received.
"As a result of the above, health insurance firms currently owe health services providers an estimated $220 million," ZiMA said in a statement.
- News 24