A National Health Commission to coordinate all diseases in the country aside from HIV/AIDS could help Zimbabwe achieve universal health coverage by 2030, a Public Health Advocate has said.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Ms Tariro Kutadza proposed the nation to come up with a national health commission or better yet modify the National Aids Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) to wear the UHC eyes.
She said the country could take a leaf from Botswana which rebranded itself to a National Aids and Health Promotion Agency from the National Aids Council of Botswana.
“The other issue we are talking about as a country is that as a country there is the national aids council with the best practices but there is a paradigm shift.
“Now we are moving into universal health coverage which means our commission should be a health commission not just focusing on one disease only. In southern Africa, Botswana has moved from the national aids council to health commission,” she said.
Kutadza explained this commission will cater for everyone.
“It looks into health for everyone whether you have TB, Malaria, a snake bite, a headache, a mental health disorder, everything will; be catered for. Unlike now, when people are talking of shortages in Zimbabwe, the issues will be of ARVs. Yet at our health centres there are no basic medications like simple pain killers. But no one is talking about it. People are just talking about ARVs,” she said.
She said the commission can adopt the best practices by NAC.
“Just like NAC, they are coordinating very well, they have done well on HIV. So they should coordinate everything so that there are no stockouts of basic medications, and surgical sundries, STI medication. So this will be coordinating everyone and working in the communities, just like they are doing with the national aids council,” Kutadza said. “This commission will be looking into all the diseases such as AIDS, NTDs, and all the other ailments we call comorbidities and emerging diseases. Our World Aids Day Theme says Communities Make A difference so the health commission will be one coordinating everyone.It will be taking the multisectorial approach just as done for HIV response. It will be easy to have a multisectorialcoordination for health at all levels.”
The commission according to Kutadza, will complement the Health Ministry’s efforts.
“But this time it will be looking out for all diseases. It will help the ministry look out for other diseases aside from AIDS as I said before. Its just like NAC coordinating HIV response. Our NAC should move according to what is happening in the country. The same NAC should change its goal posts like Botswana having its National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency. NAC should now wear the UHC lenses. This commission will just continue working as an arm of the ministry of health,” Kutadza.
In Zimbabwe, the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) has been at the forefront of advocating for Universal Health coverage which involves aspects like the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“Universal health coverage has a direct impact on a population’s health and welfare access and use of health services enables communities to be more productive and active contributors to their families and communities,” Kutadza said.