$7, 6m Health Development Fund for essential medicines and equipment


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The Ministry of Health and Child Care has released US$ 7.6 million to the Health Development Fund (HDF) for the purchase of essential medicines and equipment for government health institutions countrywide.

The channeling of the funding by the Government of Zimbabwe through the Health Development Fund attests to the trust and benefit the government has derived through the HDF. The Health Development Fund, is a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism established to revitalize health services and reduce maternal and child mortality. Managed by UNICEF, the HDF has been the primary means through which donors have channeled their financial contributions to Zimbabwe’s health sector.

Key contributors have included the governments of the United Kingdom (US$ 68.4 million), Ireland (US$ 4 million), and Sweden (US$ 20 million). Other contributors include the European Union (US$62.7 million) and GAVI, the Global Vaccine Alliance (US$ 14.2 million).

The government’s contribution comes from the recently-introduced Health Fund Levy through which five per cent of the duty charged on airtime is ring-fenced to improve access to quality health care for all Zimbabweans.

“As Government of Zimbabwe we appreciate the continued support and contribution that development partners have made to the health sector through the HDF. They have asked us as Government to support this commitment by also investing appropriately into the health services provision,” says Permanent Secretary for Health and Child Care Brigadier General (Dr) Gerald Gwinji. “Here we take advantage of UNICEF’s procurement mechanism and economies of scale to utilise part of the Health Levy to purchase essential drugs and medicines.”

The government’s contribution will be pooled with other donor funds and managed through UNICEF as the HDF manager. UNICEF will use its procurement systems to efficiently purchase the products while ensuring value-for-money and taking advantage of economies of scale. Distribution will be done through the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm).

“We share the government’s commitment to providing every Zimbabwean, especially women and children, with access to the highest quality of health care possible,” says acting UNICEF Representative Dr. Jane Muita. “To this end, we will do everything possible to ensure that the medicines and equipment reach health facilities in the shortest possible time.”

In addition to this funding, the government has met its 2017 co-financing obligation of US$ 600,000 to GAVI to improve the availability of vaccines through 2018, a big shot in the arm for the Zimbabwe Expanded Programme on Immunisation which aims to drastically reduce vaccine preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles in under five children.