Mugabe blames Zim medical aid issues on western sanctions

The Zim Medical Association says doctors in private practice won’t accept medical insurance cards anymore.

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Picture: African Union Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - President Robert Mugabe has blamed western sanctions for the fact that some medical aid firms aren't able to pay back doctors for treatment provided.

His claim has been greeted with disbelief on social media, where anger is rising over a decision by private doctors to no longer accept medical insurance cards.

Doctors say medical insurance firms aren't honouring their claims.

But Mugabe says it's another thing - they should put their patients first.

Last week the Zimbabwe Medical Association said doctors in private practice would no longer accept medical insurance cards.

In a speech aired on state radio, Mugabe said doctors deserved to be paid but if they weren't, it was because sanctions were preventing the economy from running smoothly.

The crisis in Zimbabwe's health sector will have almost no effect on Mugabe and his family, who have been criticised by the opposition for travelling abroad for medical attention.

Yesterday's comments were made at the funeral of one of Zimbabwe's former health ministers, who died last week while receiving treatment in Egypt.