The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) held the pre-budget meeting in Harare yesterday where calls were made by different stakeholders for the increase of the 2024 Health budget.
By Nthokozo Gudu
Hwange Central Legislator, Hon MP Daniel Molokele who is also the Chairman of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health said it was crucial to allocate the 15 percent of the national budget to health as is prescribed by the Abuja target.
The growing demand for health services in the country owing to the increase in population and structural changes in the economy necessitates an improvement in public spending. It is important to ensure that the health system is adequately resourced and that those resources are used efficiently and optimally through increased prioritization of the health sector and enhanced public health investments, this should entail allocating at least 15% of the National Budget to the health sector in line with the Abuja Declaration target,” he said.
Speaking during the meeting, Doctor Prosper Chitambara Senior Research Economist and Policy Advisor said the health sector suffers inadequate and depleted health workforces.
“The country’s health sector continues to face myriad challenges that include inadequate and depleted health care workforce, high disease burden, inadequate and poor maintenance of health care infrastructure and ill-equipped hospitals, inadequate budgetary allocation and gross public under investment,” said Doc Chitambara.
He also highlighted on the allocation of 15% of the National Budget to the health sector in line with the Abuja Declaration target and the essential drug shortages in the country.
“Government must commit to allocating and spending at least 15% of the total budget towards the sector in line with the Abuja declaration target. No country can make significant progress towards universal health coverage(UHC) without relying on dominant share of public funds, public funds are essential for UHC.”
“Medicines are vital elements to health-care, and access to medicines is a fundamental human right. The prevailing essential drug shortages bring significant challenges to the health care system The causes of the shortage include supply side constraints, demand side issues and regulatory issues. Drug shortages lead to inappropriate alternatives in prescription, compromised health , prolonged health stay, readmission , morbidity and mortality,” he said.
Doctor Chitambara added that, “National health insurance is critical for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) ,this is important in a country where currently only about 7% of Zimbabweans have medical insurance.The National Health Insurance can be financed through a combination of reallocating public expenditures, increasing tax revenues,and eliminating illicit financial flows.”