Zimbabwe Launches US$90 Million Health Resilience Fund

THE Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), through support from development and funding partners, has launched the Health Resilience Fund (HRF) worth US$90 Million to support interventions across three main pillars which include ending Preventable Maternal and Child Deaths; Global Health Security; and Health Systems Strengthening.

By Michael Gwarisa

Funding and development partners to the HRF include the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) Government, Ireland, Sweden, and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as the UN agencies UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO.

Officiating at the launch which coincided the with closeout for the Health Development Fund (HDF), as well as the launch of the National Health Strategy 2021 – 2025 with its accompanying Investment Case, and the Health Sector Coordination Framework,  Health and Child Care Minister, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said they will ensure the funds and resources under the HRF go towards their intended purposes.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care is committed to supporting the implementation of the Health Resilience Fund programme in the same way it has supported its predecessor programmes, that is, the Health Transition Fund, Integrated Support Programme and Health Development Fund.

“The Health Resilience Fund is a health-pooled fund with financial commitments of about US$90 million over the next 3 years. The Health Resilience Fund will be supporting interventions across three pillars which are: Ending Preventable Maternal and Child Deaths; Global Health Security; and Health Systems Strengthening,” said Vice President Chiwenga.

He also assured funding partners that government remains focused on achieving the highest standard of health care and quality of life, possible for all its citizens. “

“As a country, we acknowledge the role played by the Health Development partners to support Zimbabwe’s Health Sector, their commitment and continued support through funding arrangements such as the one we are launching today, the Health Resilience Fund.  The support will enable the Ministry to effectively and efficiently implement the National Health Strategy [2021 – 2025] which aims to improve the health and wellness of the Zimbabwean population and eventually to ensure universal access to health services as guided by the National Development Strategy 1. “

The National Health Strategy (NHS) focus on the following priority areas:  Increasing Domestic Funding for Health to meet the 15% Abuja Declaration target and ultimately the USD84 per capita World Health Organisation threshold, Improving primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, and quinary care.

The strategy will also improve health sector human resources performance, improve 
availability of essential medicines and commodities, and improve Health infrastructure
and medical equipment for Health Service Delivery.

Speaking at the same event, Mr Edward Kallon, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator said,”I am thankful to the Government of Zimbabwe and the Funding Development Partners on the trust vested in the United Nations to advance the HRF.  I wish to highlight the importance of National Leadership in advancing the noble goals of the HRF, which is aligned with the NDS1 and National Health Strategy.

“Within the spirit of the agenda 2030 – leave no one behind and SDG#17 referring to the revitalization of Global Partnerships and Sustainable Development, it is great to see that the HDF and HRF is supported by the international community – the funding partners –i.e., the EU, the UK Government, Ireland, Sweden, and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as the UN agencies UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO. Activities were implemented by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, with support from UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO and more than 30 implementing partners in the field – this is impressive, and this is a clear demonstration of the power and importance of partnerships to improve the health status of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Over several years, Zimbabwe has developed and nurtured a unique health partnership – a Trust Fund, led by the Government and supported by donors and the United Nations Agencies. In 2012, the Government together with donors launched the Health Transition Fund (HTF) which was followed by the Health Development Fund (HDF) for the period 2016 – 2020. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HDF was extended to 2022.

UNICEF Country Rep, Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, said the UN agencies, UNICEF and UNFPA have a proven track record in administering health sector related financing.

“UNICEF and UNFPA were the technical partners to the HDF, and we appreciate the funding and support from the Government of UK, Ireland, Sweden and the European Union, and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance to the Fund. I am pleased to inform that HDF partnership has contributed to health system strengthening and sector coordination, quality health service delivery and sustained community engagement especially in maternal, new-born and child health, nutrition and family planning services.

“The independent end line evaluation of the HDF demonstrated that the fund largely met set objectives and also identified some areas for improvement. Evidence from the evaluation indicated the HDF objective were aligned with set objectives and priorities of the Government and that implementation was integrated into routine health care delivery system and contributed towards health systems strengthening, as such relevant and coherent,” said Dr Oyewale.

UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO are three technical implementing partners to the HRF and according to Dr Oyewale, they are ready to ensure quality support, as they look forward to working with all stakeholders at all levels.

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