The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Life Correspondent
A MEDICAL facility tailor-made for artists and media practitioners has now spread to five cities after initially being launched in Bulawayo early this year.
Those interested in being part of the facility are required to register with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) to access discounted medical services and products.
The facility, pioneered in Bulawayo by Comedian Dumisani “MaForty” Ndlovu, is now available in Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Gwanda and is aimed at assisting Zimbabwean artists from all facets of the creative industry to access health services and products at discounted rates, having previously been unable to benefit from medical aid schemes.
According to Maforty different service providers, in the towns have come on board to offer products and services to artists at reduced rates and prices. The latest practice to join the scheme is Westview Clinics owned by a prominent medical practitioner, music promoter and Philanthropist Dr Johannes Marisa in Harare
“We have been negotiating with medical practitioners, pharmacies and laboratories for artists to access consultation services, drugs and laboratory test at discounted prices and I am happy that we have found cooperating partners in Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Gwanda”, he said.
The facility has expanded to include the spouses and children who are less than 18 years old for services accessed in Bulawayo, Gweru, Gwanda and Mutare.
“To access the facilities, artists have to register for the scheme with the NACZ provincial offices in the towns. I am happy that to date over 30 artists have registered in Bulawayo and we hope with the increased number of service providers we can have more artists coming on board to enjoy the services,” said MaForty.
Benefits that accrue to registered members include getting a 50 percent discount on consultation fees at the partnering general practitioners rooms, 25 percent off on all blood tests at Procare Labs (Bulawayo) and 10 percent off on all drugs at partnering pharmacies.
Dr Marisa said he was pleased to be part of the scheme which is an extension of his previous work of helping artists access medical care through his clinics and other members of the Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe (MDPPZA).
“I am coming on board to offer such services at a discounted rate to bonafide registered artists. Local artists have become part of my family and it has always been my desire, resources permitting, to do more to promote and preserve their legacy” he said.
To register, artists require certified copies of their identity documents and birth certificates for their children. Registration is be approved within 72 hours after all information supplied has been verified and a confirmation letter is provided to the artists by the NACZ provincial offices.
MaForty also revealed that arts journalists can also register under the same facility and they only need a letter from their respective editors and a valid press card to be able to benefit from the scheme.
“Registration for the facility is free and ongoing allowing artists to register at any time for their convenience,” he said.