Government committed to health

Despite inequalities in the health sector, the government is committed to finding solutions that benefit the people, a Ministry official said last week.

“Even if the problem is not in our ministry, we have to find solutions to equitable distribution of healthcare,” Dr Davis Dhlakama said. “There is no reason people should die of Typhoid or Cholera, Malaria or AIDS, because the government has provided funds to pay healthcare workers andprovide medicine, but councils continue to charge user fees to mothers and children.”

He said the government was aware of the differences in the delivery of healthcare, but was committed to doing something about it. “In 1980 healthcare was free and and at one time 85% of our people where within 10km of a clinic or hospital.We are trying to make sure that if someone cannot be attended at a primary level, they should be taken to a district where there is a general practitioner,” he said.

Dhlakama announced that the government had started the Reach Every Districtinitiative and training of healthcare workers to ensure they provided quality healthcare. “There are clinics and hospitals in very remote districts of the country and we have taken a deliberate approach, with the help of the Health Services Board, to give remote allowances,” he said. The government has committed to giving $500 monthly grants to rural hospitals.

“These funds are going to cater for user fees like soaps, gloves, cards which used to be covered by pregnant mothers. We expect this to start before June,” he said.

For over a year now government officials have been slamming user fees. Health Services Board member, Dr Lovemore Mumbengeranwa, said the government health policies were no more than political slogans. “It’s unfortunate, that the country’s health policies have been reduced to political slogans,” said Mumbengeranwa. Zimbabwe is currently pending about $9 per person on health, much less than the $34 per person recommended by WHO Macro-economic Commission on Health, or the 15 per cent target agreed to in the African Union Abuja declaration. Dhlakama challenged Zimbabweans to work together to bring equity to the health sector

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