Private clinics in Zimbabwe or how to get health insurance



Private clinics in Zimbabwe or how to get health insurance

Zimbabwe is a country with a backward, corrupt economic and political system that results in poor social services and public medicine. Hospitals suffer from a lack of skilled staff, essential medicines and quality equipment - medical, laundry and kitchen – and the general culture of the population contributes to the spread of viral diseases. To reach remote villages, medical workers are forced to travel hundreds of kilometres by bicycle. Therefore, medicine in Zimbabwe is not entirely safe, either for the local population or for tourists or visiting workers.

Zimbabwe has epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The number of deaths due to AIDS reached 24 000 in 2017. Overall, in a country of about 15 million inhabitants, 2 million people receive HIV/AIDS support. According to 2010 statistics, 20% of children over the age of five died of HIV/AIDS. The disease is one of the main causes of the high orphanhood rate in Zimbabwe.

As for malaria, its main vector is mosquitoes – to protect against them, premises in Zimbabwe are treated with chemicals and long mosquito nets are used both indoors and outdoors.

International organisations such as UNICEF play an important role in normalising life in the country. Thanks to UNICEF, Zimbabwe has centres where children suffering from chronic malnutrition are rehabilitated and rural hospitals and clinics are made safer.

The birth of children

On the eve of the Covid-19 epidemic, the country is experiencing its worst crisis in recent decades. Doctors went on strike, demanding more than $100 a month, and midwives and nurses resigned. Pregnant women have therefore been forced to turn to traditional healers to assist them with childbirth, guided by the power of the 'holy spirit' – without gloves, hand and room sanitisation and proper hygiene for the baby and mother after delivery. Home birth is a tradition in Zimbabwe and currently 651 out of 100 000 pregnant women die from complications during or after childbirth. Because of the low wages, doctors openly demand bribes from the birthing mothers – and they mainly help those who give them in US dollars. For developed countries, the amounts may seem insignificant – a common thing it is when a doctor takes US$ 3 – but for the local population these amounts are significant.

Private clinics

In large cities there are private clinics with high-quality equipment and services. They provide ultrasound, X-ray, dental and home care services, have their own 'ambulance service' and can both come on call and pick up patients from hospital and recruit and train junior medical staff themselves. Private clinics account for about 30% of all medical facilities in Zimbabwe. Below are prices for various services without specifying a particular private clinic.

  • Consultation with a doctor – $20 
  • Laboratory tests – $25
  • Intensive care wards – $1300
  • General therapy wards – $450

Medical insurance

There is both public and private health insurance in Zimbabwe. Public health insurance is a tax that is deducted from the employee. In total, there are more than 30 health unions in the country, 10 of which deal exclusively with a specific industry or a specific category of employee.

The best option for tourists and immigrants would be to register for international health insurance – see our website for information. In Zimbabwe, the state is unable to provide adequate medical care and there are often disagreements between clinics and local private health insurance companies – and people are still forced to pay their own money.

It should be noted that in the event of a serious injury or illness, a person will need medical evacuation from Zimbabwe. Therefore, when drawing up an international medical insurance policy, it is worth noting that this is covered.