The state of healthcare in Zimbabwe is a topical issue. Healthcare in Zimbabwe is generally in shambles. It is a far cry from other countries. A few days ago, I was chatting to my friend based in Germany. She was saying that healthcare on that side is top-notch. For instance, someone can be admitted and stay in a hospital for a whole year for free. Anyways, a lot needs to be done to spruce up the Zimbabwean healthcare system. That is why it is noteworthy when you see entities and individuals investing in that. I am referring to CIMAS.

CIMAS Health Group

CIMAS is a premier medical aid society in Zimbabwe. They have been in existence for more than 75 years. Some of their core services are:

  • Medical Aid
  • International Travel Insurance
  • Primary Healthcare
  • Laboratory Services

In 2022, they attained ZWS ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification. This made them the first-ever medical aid society to achieve that in Zimbabwe. This certification implies that CIMAS now has a cutting-edge digitized Information Security Management System (ISMS). This ensures their clients’ information and information systems are protected from unauthorized access and disruption.

CIMAS Investing Millions In Healthcare Infrastructure And Technology

In 2022, CIMAS invested US$5 million towards this pursuit. CIMAS has indicated it shall invest US$8 million in healthcare this year. Part of the thrust of these efforts is to strengthen medical tourism. These investment plans were corroborated by Vulindlela Ndlovu (CIMAS Chief Executive Officer) at the recent ZITF International Business Conference:

In 2022, the CIMAS Health Group invested US$5 million in healthcare infrastructure and this year (2023) we are looking to invest US$8 million. We see this trend continuing for the foreseeable future. Most of this money is invested in physical infrastructure and technology. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the country can have state-of-the-art healthcare infrastructure that can contribute to improved health outcomes and attract inward medical tourism. We have great skills in the country that can make this a reality

NB: Medical tourism is an exciting terminology if you are wondering what it is. You may even find it considered derogatory, but its meaning is what matters. Medical tourism refers to travelling across international borders, generally from a rich to a poor country, to deliver healthcare, often temporarily. It can also refer to travelling across international borders to seek and obtain healthcare.

CIMAS’ Commitment Towards Increasing Medical Aid Coverage In Zimbabwe

Ndlovu also cited that medical aid coverage remains a huge concern in Zimbabwe. The vast majority of Zimbabweans do not have medical aid coverage. CIMAS is keenly interested in addressing that challenge:

We know that government would like to see an improvement in the level of coverage to include everyone and not the current position where less than 10 percent of the population has medical aid. We would like to be part of a solution (working with government and other stakeholders) to increase medical aid coverage. There are some promising leads that this could be a reality and one of the enablers for this is technology.

Important Role Of Technology In Healthcare

Ndlovu emphasized the importance technology plays in enhancing healthcare systems.

Technology in health is a game changer in improving access, lowering costs and improving health outcomes. Earlier on I spoke about mental health – now with online platforms – mental health coaching is proving to be quite impactful in reaching wider services.

Inspiring Young People To Pursue Careers In Healthcare

CIMAS is also committed to inspiring young people (often marginalized) to get involved in healthcare. One of the strategies they are using to do that is to facilitate rural school students to attend ZITF. This year they made it possible for 80 students to attend the ZITF. They also encouraged other businesses or companies to join hands with them in rolling this out moving forward:

We are inviting the business community to join in this initiative in future. This year we have invited 80 students. 40 of the students are from Matabeleland North province, 20 from Ndlovu Primary School and 20 from Jotsholo Secondary School. 40 students are from Mashonaland East province and all of them are from Mukondiwa Primary School.

That is what is happening with CIMAS, and more is to come. Seeing entities and people trying to improve Zimbabwe’s healthcare system is refreshing. Not too long ago, we spoke about Brismed, a Zimbabwean healthcare startup focusing on Hospital Management, Medical Billing, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Pharmacy Management. It is one example of passionate efforts to improve Zimbabwe’s healthcare system. If you are a healthcare professional, kindly engage with Bryan Moyo on Twitter to join Brismed’s efforts.