HEALTH lobbyists have suggested that the 2 percent intermediated money transfer tax be channeled towards the improvement of the country’s health sector.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This comes at a time when doctors at government owned hospitals are in persistent strikes over the shortage or unavailability of medical sundries and equipment.
The latest strike is one at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals on Wednesday were they complained of working conditions putting patients’ lives at risk on the back medicines and sundries scarcity. Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Secretary General Dr Anele Bhebhe took to his Twitter account urging Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to dispense the 2 percent takings towards the Health sector.
“It is about time @MthuliNcube cuts down on his appetite for luxurious flights and unending television interviews and focus on reviving the health sector. A good starting point is to consider dedicating that 2%tax towards saving lives of citizens in the state hospitals,” he tweeted.
Farai Charasika also tweeted asking for a chunk of the 2 percent rakings.
“Dear Prof..We hear Gvt is getting $50-100million per month from 2% tax.Any chance the people could get just $5-10million of that to fix our hospitals so our babies & mothers delivering babies don’t die.We don’t need much.2% will do,” he said.
Organisations like the Community Working Group On Health have been lobbying for the prioritisation of health to ensure medication and equipment in public hospitals are bought.
In the absence of a comprehensive, multi-encompassing health insurance scheme, Zimbabweans fork out huge sums of money to supplement their medical aids schemes while health activists lobby for expeditious implementation of a National Health Insurance Scheme.
CWGH Executive Director Mr Itai Rusike, said the public are bearing the brunt of out of pocket health expenses coupled with heavy taxes imposed on them.
“Zimbabwe is a high-tax state comparing with the other low income countries. In order to reduce out of pocket spending on health, various tax funding options have been suggested including a ‘sin tax’ on luxury items that negatively affect health such as liquor and tobacco.
“There has been a small shift towards increased public financing from taxes and reduced private and out of pocket spending. More equitable taxes need to be identified,” he said.
Mr Rusike added that discussions surrounding financing for health including community and social health insurance schemes have been made.
“There is debate on option for improving tax revenue and domestic progressive financing for health, including through social health Insurance and community health Insurance. The financing incidence – who bears what burden of funding health services -of the different funding proposals needs to be assessed,” he said.
Parirenyatwa Head of Division Paediatrics Dr Azza Mashumba gave a chilling emotional account of their working conditions at the hospital. With tears running down her eyes, she decried the under-prioritisation of health sector saying their pleas are falling on deaf ears.
Watch her on video below