By Michael Gwarisa
DELEGATES to the Primary Health Care Budget Advocacy Meeting have called for the subsidising of primary health care services, fees in particular at both community and national health care centers in a bid to reduce the high mortality rate in both infants and adults.
Presenting during a workshop organised by Save the Children Zimbabwe, Training and Research Support Center (TARSC) Programs manager Artwell Kadungure said high fees were among the biggest challenges towards accessing primary health care.
He indicated that some of the challenges to Primary health care access was, “widening inequalities in wealth within areas, increased urban poverty, gender and social inequality, Insecure incomes, urban food poverty, Shortfalls in functional improved water and sanitation ,preventable disease.
“Rising NCDs, Wealth and education disparities in the uptake of services, Late or unmanaged NCDs, Domestic health financing too low to meet costs of the core services and high dependency on external funding for key areas of health delivery.”
According to the Alma Nata declaration, Primary Health Care is defined as essential health care made universally accessible to individuals and families by means acceptable to them through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country could afford and maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self determination.
Parliamentarian, Hon Jasmine Toffa said it was time government looked at the issue of Public Health Care as as asset and consider seriously subsidising the health sector so as to save lives as most people were failing to access basic health-care services.
“In as much as the government is unable to meet the Abuja declaration of the 15 percent, the 10 percent that they are giving to the public health service, the honorable minister should ensure that they actually get that 10 percent.
“Government should make sure that the 10 percent they are getting goes to the services as opposed to what is happening now where it goes to administration. Not only the high fees is a challenge, the hospitals don’t have the medication, you find like you only getting a particular antibiotic like paracetamol, ARVs and nothing else,” said Toffa.
She added that the poverty in most communities was a major challenge as most Zimbabweans are currently surviving on less than a dollar every day.
Meanwhile, the Bill Gates foundation has pledged to assist Zimbabwe in achieving and overcoming challenges being faced in the delivery of Primary Health Care.
Save the Children’s Forster Matyatya told delegates that a team of health economists will be embarking on a research on the Zimbabwe’s Primary Health Care system and they will be giving feedback in the foreseeable future.