STAKEHOLDERS in the health sector have started piling pressure on President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa to honour his pledge of improving infrastructure, drug supplies and staffing levels at public health institutions.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) director Itai Rusike said the new government should prioritise strengthening of primary health care to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and attaining the sustainable development goals.
“Now that the elections are over, the people of Zimbabwe expect the fulfilment of the election manifesto, in which you promised free medical care for cancer patients; at least one hospital per district, improved health services in resettlement areas, reduction of hospital fees by 50% and pursuing the Health for All policy, among others,” Rusike said.
He added that the deplorable state of the country’s health system required urgent attention so as to ensure equitable access to essential quality health services.
“Zimbabwe needs sustained investments in primary health care to revitalise the health system to close gaps in access to services and to address the causes of ill-health,” Rusike said.
Most public hospitals are in a sorry state with dilapidated and obsolete infrastructure while drugs and medical staff are always in short supply.
“And this, against a background of sustained paltry funding to the sector from national fiscus, is of major concern.
The problems in the health sector are compounded by the very high prevalence of largely preventable diseases as well as behaviour, lifestyles, environmental and basic water and sanitation issues,” Rusike said.
He said it was unsustainable in the long run to have donor funding almost 90% of the health sector’s requirements.
“Your new government, Your Excellency, therefore, needs to design and implement new and innovative domestic health financing policies to fund a strengthened primary health care strategy to achieve UHC.
“We have over the years proffered several options and strategies that Zimbabwe can explore for innovative mobilisation of resources building on best practices in global health financing to boost public spending on health without undermining fiscal sustainability,” the CWGH boss said.