By Michael Gwarisa
ZIMBABWE continues to lag behind in terms of allocating domestic financial resources to the health sector, falling far behind civil war stricken countries like Rwanda.
According to a report dubbed “The African Regional Framework For The Implementation Of The Global Strategy On Human Resources For Health :Workforce 2030” which was presented during the ongoing WHO 67th Regional conference in Vic falls, Rwanda was amongst the few African countries which managed to meet the Abuja Declaration target which states that governments should at least dedicate 15 percent towards health from their annual budgets.
“In 2014, only Liberia, Rwanda, Swaziland and Zambia met the Abuja Declaration target of allocating 15 percent of annual budget for health.
“Although most Member States have national Human Resources Health (HRH) plans, their implementation has been a challenge. For example, some Member States cannot afford to absorb all Health Workers (HWs) produced,leading to the paradox of HW unemployment amidst shortages in the health system,”said the Report.
In 2014, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa health sector was allocated 6.3 percent down from 8.2 percent which was allocated in 2013, while in 2017, the sector got a paltry $281.9 million which translates to less than 8.27 percent.
According to the report, such low levels of domestic funding for the health sector were detrimental to the growing of a strong and motivated workforce in the health sector.
“Retaining the available HWs is critical to improving coverage and equity of access to health services. Furthermore, poor working conditions, unattractive, remuneration, inadequate protection and little incentives play a role in demotivating HWs.
“Migration of HWs poses a challenge for Member States. There is inequitable distribution between urban and
rural areas. It is a challenge getting HWs to serve in remote and rural areas, hence they are underserved.”
According to the World Health Report 2006, the African Region has the most severe health workforce (HWF)
shortage in the world. Of the 57 countries facing HWF crisis globally, 36 are in the African Region).
Since 2006, Member States have made more efforts to tackle the HRH challenges even though the number of
Member States under HRH crisis remains unchanged.