Local Medical Aid Societies’ payments to service providers stood at US$324 million in 2016 while the total number of people covered remained static at 1.3 million according to the industry latest update report presented at the ongoing 2017 Association of Health Funders Association of Zimbabwe (Ahfoz) stakeholder’s conference.

The latest industry update report indicates that health funders paid a total of US$324 million to various healthcare service providers in 2016 compared to US$437 million in 2015.

During the same period government’s allocation to the health sector stood at US$330 million.

Company closures, the structural shift in the domestic economy towards informal economy and liquidity constraints have been cited as some of the major challenges during the period under review.

Ahfoz chief executive officer, Ms Shylet Sanyanga highlighted that the operating environment remained subdued with total figure for lives covered remaining static at around 1.3 million.

According to Ahfoz medical aid fraud continues to be a cause for concern with a total of 157 cases investigated during the period under review compared to 50 in 2015.

A total of US$1.9 million was recovered up from US$159 000 in 2015.

The annual conference comes at a time many Zimbabweans have raised concern over the high cost of medical services, unfair practices by healthcare providers and distortion of tariffs.