Health Ministry Wants ZW$3 Billion in Forthcoming Budget

THE Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) has presented its budgetary proposal ahead of the 2020 National Budget presentation by the ministry of finance and economic development later on this year.

By Michael Gwarisa

Presenting their Budgetary bid during a pre-budget consultative meeting with the Parliamentary portfolio committee on health, ministry of health Director Finance and Administration, Mrs  Heather Machamire said they were looking at getting nothing below ZW$3 billion in the 2020 national budget inorder to resolve challenges bedeviling the health sector.

Our ceiling for the year 2020 is ZW$2,185, 600,000 and of that, there is compensation of employees which is salaries ZW$992,200,000. Recurrent expenditure is ZW$984,400, 000 and the capital of the Public Sector Investment Program (PSIP) projects ZW$209 million.

“Our bid as a ministry for 2020 for policy and administration we have ZW$594 million, Public health, we have ZW$981, 500,000 and Primary Health Care and Hospital Care we have ZW$3.2 billion making our total bid excluding salaries ZW$3, 880 billion. Our ceiling excluding salaries for 2020 is therefore ZW$1.193 billion which is giving a funding gap of ZW$2,687 billion. We haven’t introduced our partner funding yet in this financing gap as well as our collections from our institutions,” said Mrs Machamire.

She added that majority of the ministry’s operations were hugely affected by high volatility of the financial market in 2019 despite the fact that ministry of finance managed to release at least 50% of US$685 million that was allocated to the health ministry.

“Our initial budget for the year 2019 was US$685 million, and by the end of the quarter we had negotiated with the ministry of finance and most of the hospital operations budget had actually been released.

“However, this was the time when so many things happened on the market and there was a lot of price increase and as a result, not much impact was made in terms of drug availability situation in our institutions. Most of our operations in the institutions require foreign currency but due to the shortage of foreign currency on the formal market most of our creditors remained outstanding despite the ministry of fiancé having released the RTGS budget.”

She added that health institutions budgets across the country have eroded by price increases characterising the economy thus making it difficult for government to achieve set objectives. She also said the MoHCC was focusing mainly at high impact interventions for the year 2020 which will scale up interventions in Malaria, HIV, Nutrition, Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) interventions with emphasis on lower levels of care.

Meanwhile, the MoHCC has called on government to continue with the unfreezing of vacant posts so as to enhance capacity within the facilities. Ms Jane Mudyara, the MoHCC Human Resources director said unfreezing some of these posts would allow for the creation of posts in order of priority.

“On employment costs as at September, our cumulative wage bill is close to ZW$440 million this is excluding salary adjustments for directors and above so we will be able to give updated figure once that has been factors in and that also affects our bid 2020.

“For 2019, treasury concurred to the unfreezing of 1,735 vacant posts out of our target that we presented to you of 3,230. Vacancy levels have since dropped to 10% of our total establishment which includes the MoHCC, the mission health facilities as well as rural districts councils,” said Ms Mudyara.

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