Zimbabwe sleeping on ratified health policies

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By Lloyd Rabaya

The Government of Zimbabwe has, over the years, not made much progress in meeting the set targets of ratified global policies.

This came out at an engagement meeting between Parliament Portfolio Committee (PPC) on Health and Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) yesterday.

The most popular of the policies is the African Union’s 2001 Abuja Declaration, which mandates all respective countries to allocate 15% of their national annual budget to health.

“Another commitment is the ICPD25, which says the government should allocate 15% to the health sector with specific allocation to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and family planning.

The government should also finalise and implement the National Health Insurance Scheme,” reiterated Diana Mailosi, Advocacy Core Team coordinator.

Mailosi also deliberated to the members of the PPC other policies, including the FP2030, which is targeted at reaching more women and girls with family planning services, High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development which requires Zimbabwe to increase health spending to 15% of the health budget or $20 per capita and establish a maternal, new born and child survival fund.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals also came to light, with the main one being number 3, which stresses out the need for healthy lifestyles, preventive measures, and modern and efficient health care for everyone.

Addressing the meeting, an official from the Ministry of Health said more needs to be done for Zimbabwe to meet set national and regional targets on health spending.

“Since 2021, an average of 14% of Government of Zimbabwe budgets and expenditures have been allocated towards health, with the Abuja Declaration target only being met in 2021,” he said.

Chairperson for the PPC on Health Hon Daniel Molokele said it is important to have inductions with the new crop of parliamentarians to equip them with the necessary tools needed for policy implementation.

Molokele also thanked ZIMCODD for the engagement, as it is key in technical capacity building.

“It is important that the new parliamentarians are also made familiar so that they can also be able to follow up and hold our executive more accountable, and make sure that Zimbabwe delivers on its commitments,” he said.

This engagement comes at a time when the Southern African country has recorded 24 525 suspected cholera cases, 2 557 confirmed cases, 23 852 recoveries, 71 confirmed deaths, and 457 suspected deaths as at 14 February.