MINISTRY of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) is hoping to use Parliament to arm-twist treasury so that it can get about US$1.3 billion in budget allocations for 2019.
Appearing before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, Permanent Secretary in the ministry Brigadier Gerald Gwinji said they have been given a cap of US$600million but their ideal budget for 2019 is $1.3 billion.
“…For us to effectively implement our programs in 2019 the ideal budget would be US$1, 312, 566,678 but we have since been informed by Ministry of Finance that they are allocating US$689,135,000.
“So request versus allocation leaves us with a funding gap of US$623,431,678 and we can simply say we have been allocated slightly above 50 percent of what we asked for,” he said.
The health sector in Zimbabwe faces a lot of challenges such as lack of adequate equipment, shortage of personnel, lack of essential drugs coupled with dilapidated infrastructure among others.
Some of the challenges are a direct result of chronic underfunding dating back to many years ago. Dr Gwinji added that there are a lot of programs lined up for 2019 which includes recruiting more workers form new hospitals that will be built and health posts.
He said Parliament must lobby treasury to at least meet the Abuja Declaration requirements and also ensure that the whole Health Levy is channeled to health.
“We appeal to you to insist that 15 percent of budget goes towards health in line with Abuja Declaration and also lobby that the whole 10% Health Levy comes to us, we are only getting half of it.
“If we at least meet Abuja Declaration demands funders will be encouraged to do more because they will see our commitment to health and that we are serious about it,” he said.
From January to September 2018, MoHCC received about US$30,618,686.00 from treasury as Health Levy and Dr Gwinji predicts that they will get more in 2019.
“We are expecting to get about US$48 million from Health Levy in 2019 using an average collection of US$4m per month using 2018 trends,” he said.
Government is currently the major funder of health care in the country providing about 49 percent of total resources followed by The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis at 18 percent and the balance is financed by other partners.
However most of the funding from government goes to employments costs. UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli has concurred with Dr Gwinji’s requests for adequate funding adding that “it’s a sound appeal by the Perm Sec, health is wealth; there is so much to do and the health sector is heavily depending on external support and therefore increased domestic funding is critical”.
Meanwhile, Dr Gwinji says the Ministry’s budget is split into three categories namely Policy and administration which will get US$23,215,600, Public Health getting US$31,972,000 and Primary Health Care and Hospital Care getting biggest chunk of US$633,947,400 in 2019.
Ministry of Health is also owed about US$236,001,283 as at 30 September 2018 and this is owed by individuals and the department of social welfare.-
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