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Cimas expands service provision to tertiary care

Cimas Health group chief executive officer Vulindlela Ndlovu (pictured) says last year was a busy one as they moved ahead valiantly with the healthcare strategy rollout expanding their service provision scope from primary care into tertiary care.

Cimas Health group chief executive officer Vulindlela Ndlovu (pictured) says  last year was a busy one as they moved ahead valiantly with the healthcare strategy rollout expanding their service provision scope from primary care into tertiary care.

Ndlovu made the remarks last Thursday at the 79th edition of the annual general meeting for Cimas Medical Aid Society members in Harare.

“During the year under review, (2023) the group commissioned nine units across five disciplines and in five cities and towns, namely Borrowdale Office Park Radiology, Kwekwe Dental, Highglen Dental, Bulawayo Dental, Mutare Dental, 35 Fife Avenue Pharmacy, Ruwa Clinic and Ruwa Pharmacy,” he said.

“The group expanded its service through investment at 35 Fife Avenue Hospital. The 16-bed hospital subsequently opened its doors during the second quarter of 2024 and will host theatres, an intensive care unit and high dependency unit, amongst other services.”

Ndlovu said the new projects commissioned in 2023 aided in mitigating the impact of the co-payments on attendances, adding that consequently, the units’ inflation adjusted revenue grew by 117% from the prior year at $180 billion (RTGs).

“Dental attendances increased from prior year by 42% after the commissioning of the four new dental clinics,” he said.

“Medlabs attendances lagged by 16% from prior year due to the impact of co-payments and competition from new laboratories set during the financial year.”

He said retail pharmacies increased by 26%, from prior year due to the two new additional pharmacies commissioned during the year and the improvement in the front shop products stocking and availability.

“Ruwa pharmacy was well received by the market resulting in improved sales. However, 35 Five Avenue pharmacy had a slow start due to existing competition in its catchment area and the delay in commissioning of the 35 Fife Avenue Hospital,” Ndlovu said.

He said they had commenced construction of the Van Praagh Medical Centre, their flagship wellness centre, during the year under review and when commissioned, it will boast of a plethora of health and wellness facilities under one roof including primary health care services, diagnostics services, medical retail, and wellness services.

Ndlovu said the investment was necessitated by the need to grow capacity for members accessing the Rowland Square Clinic and improve turnaround times for patients.

In line with the Cimas Health Group’s commitment to advance medical knowledge and improving patient outcomes through ground-breaking research and technology, Ndlovu said Cimas Medlabs invested in the infrastructure for the game changing genomics sequencing.

He said this advancement will enable Cimas Health Group to tailor healthcare interventions to an individual’s genetic profile, lifestyle, and environmental factors, leading to more targeted and effective therapies, reducing adverse effects, and improving patient outcomes.

As a way of enhancing process efficiencies, Ndlovu said the group implemented robotic process automation initiatives that would continue to be explored alongside incorporating artificial intelligence in core operations.

“The group rolled out digital customer facing products during the year and continues to explore several opportunities to apply technology within the business,” he said.

“To improve convenience for our members, the group introduced two digital products USSD and the WhatsApp Chatbot during the year under review.”

Ndlovu said the USSD platform is a service that aims to enhance user experience by providing a seamless, accessible, and efficient way for members to interact with their services, without the need for internet access.

He said the WhatsApp Chatbot, which is designed to revolutionise customer interaction and support, harnesses the wide spread use of WhatsApp to provide instant, efficient, and personalised service to members.

“Both platforms (USSD and the WhatsApp Chatbot) provide an interactive and responsive real-time connection allowing members access to check their balances and benefits, obtain information, about Cimas products and initiate card requests and digital registration of members on the Healthsave products,” Ndlovu said.

Having been the first medical aid in Zimbabwe to attain ISO 27001:2013 certification, Ndlovu said Cimas managed to renew the certification in June 2023, adding that this gives members and stakeholders assurance that their highly sensitive personal and medical information they have on record will be kept securely and confidentially and be readily available.

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