By Michael Gwarisa
POLITICAL leaders have been blamed for the continued demise of the local health infrastructure and facilities owing to their frequent visits abroad to seek health attention, shunning local services.
Briefing a UHC2030 Civil Society Engagement meeting this morning in the capital, Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Mr Itai Rusike said as long as there is no political will in addressing challenges bedeviling the health sector, we can forget about achieving health targets and health rights.
“As long as there is no political will, and as long as political leaders do not use local health facilities, they will not see the need to revive or develop the health sector. Once political leaders use local facilities, they will get an appreciation of what needs to be addressed.
“Right now, our national budget’s allocation to the health sector is still very small, less than 15 percent and we need to lobby and mobilise for resources to fund health domestically. As Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), we need push harder so as to ensure our voices are heard and domestic financing of the health sector is increased,” said Rusike.
Most politicians have publicly declared their love for foreign health facilities while other top figures like President Robert Mugabe and his family, MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai and a lot more frequent foreign hospitals regularly.
Zimbabwe’s health sector is highly funded by donor agencies, a situation most analysts have described as catastrophic for the sector.
Meanwhile, Dr Stanely Midzi from the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the issues of domestic financing need to be taken seriously as Zimbabwe was lagging behind in achieving certain health targets.
“As Zimbabwe, we have hardly been able to get closer to the Abuja target of 15 percent in terms at health funding from the treasury, the only time we were closer to this was during the hyperinflation era when the health sector got 12 percent which was literally close to nothing considering the period we were in.”
Zimbabwe through the ministry of finance last year introduced the 5 percent Airtime levy to fund the health sector but however, fruits of such an initiative are yet to be realised as it is only but a drop in the ocean compared to the required resources.