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Teachers demand health insurance

Teachers are failing to access health services after the government discontinued its commitment to contribute 80% of the medical aid premium.

GOVERNMENT should invest in the health and wellness of its employees including honouring its obligation in the collective bargain agreement and paying the employer contribution for workers’ medical aid, teachers unions have said.

Teachers are failing to access health services after the government discontinued its commitment to contribute 80% of the medical aid premium.

The workers contribute 20% of the premiums.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Akuneni Maphosa said the challenges bedevilling the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) had added misery to teachers.

“We believe that the government must invest in the health of its employees, particularly teachers. When we speak about health, we are also talking about the wellness of a teacher in terms of even remuneration.

“We are seeing a situation where in recent times; some teachers are collapsing and dying at work. Teachers are failing to access services in terms of health.”

NewsDay has established that several hospitals are no longer accepting the medical aid after the government failed to fulfil its obligations.

Maphosa said service providers like doctors and even pharmaceutical companies were turning down PSMAS medical aid card holders.

He said there was need for civil servants to access medical aid services from alternatives sources.

“And when the person is properly paid, there is less stress; there is less thinking about school fees. There is also less thinking about what to eat and how to feed the family, thereby promoting mental health among teachers, and emotional health also among teachers,” he said.

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said teachers needed at least US$180 a month to cater for their health needs.

“The union will not back down until healthcare becomes a birth right and until every member is treated with the dignity they deserve. The union is demanding US$180 for healthcare insurance as part of the basket of US$1 260 monthly income,” it said.

“Teachers are being shamefully let down by the abysmal performance of the PSMAS, which is now a dysfunctional mess. This organisation (PSMAS), despite being the major service provider for teachers and other civil servants, is failing miserably in its duty to provide accessible and affordable health insurance to government employees.”

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