International help needed to fund health

Zimbabwe is re-engaging with the international community to forge partnerships to help people live better lives, the minister of health and childcare, David Parirenyatwa, has said.

“If government allocates nine per cent of the national budget to the health ministry, it creates a huge gap which can only be filled by donors’ goodwill.” – David Parirenyatwa
“If government allocates nine per cent of the national budget to the health ministry, it creates a huge gap which can only be filled by donors’ goodwill.” – David Parirenyatwa

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean at the 68th UN anniversary at Chitungwiza Central Hospital, Parirenyatwa said assistance from the international community would be crucial for reduce the ministry of health’s national budget deficit.

He urged both parties to leave the gloom and fights of the past and partner each other for the benefit of Zimbabwe.

Parirenyatwa expressed hope that the International community would welcome Zimbabwe, since with “very open hands”, the country was saying “let’s get together”.

“In its national budget, treasury allocated less than the ministry of health needs to function efficiently. International partnerships would fill the gap,” Parirenyatwa told delegates.

He deplored the nine per cent budget given to his ministry by government, which he described as far short of requirements.

“If government allocates nine per cent of the national budget to the health ministry, it creates a huge gap which can only be filled by donors’ goodwill,” said Parirenyatwa.

According to Parirenyatwa, international assistance would cater for the infrastructure requirements of his ministry.

Parirenyatwa said Zimbabwe would need international partnerships to help improve working conditions in the health ministry, which he said were very poor. He blamed them for government’s failure to retain skilled and professional health workers.

Parirenyatwa has joined a number of government ministers who have admitted that Zimbabwe cannot achieve much without input from the West and the international community.

Recently, the minister of industry and commerce, Mike Bimha, told The Zimbabwean that there would be no way Zimbabwe could succeed without assistance from international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and western countries. President Robert Mugabe and SADC have stepped up the lobby to have Zimbabwe re-embraced by the international community, so that the country can resuscitate its economy.

Zimbabwe’s health sector, once among the best in sub-Saharan Africa, collapsed during the country’s 2008 economic crisis. Health institutions ran out of drugs and human resources, resulting in their temporary shutdown.

Experts say, however, that external funding alone will not be enough to resolve Zimbabwe’s health crisis in the long run. Government will have to substantially increase its spending on health to help rebuild the ministry and ensure sustainability beyond 2015.

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