The National Development Strategy 1 is a successor to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and is the first five-year Medium Term Plan aimed at realising the country’s Vision 2030.
It was launched by President Mnangagwa in November last year and its framework is organised around key interconnected pillars that are aimed at achieving sustainable economic development namely, macroeconomic stability and financial re-engagement, inclusive growth, governance, infrastructure and utilities, social development in line with vision 2030 agenda.
These key pillars will enable economic growth through policy interventions related increased investments in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, energy, public infrastructure investments, improved service delivery in education and health as well as communication.
Under Health and Well-being thematic area, the desired outcome is improved quality of life. Major objectives under this priority area include improving the quality of life and improving life expectancy at birth from the current 61 years to 65 years and increasing Public Health Expenditure Per Capita from US$30.29 in 2020 to US$86 by 2025.
The issue of health is upmost on the priority list of the Second Republic and as such, a lot of resources have been put in renovating health care facilities and building new ones across the country.
We also note that Health and Well-being is key for economic growth as the economy needs people who can produce the goods and services required to oil the wheels of the economy.
Bulawayo is one province that has received attention from the Government, with a number of health care centres getting massive investment in resources, with some help coming from private players. Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa last week said Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo is set to start admitting patients soon, with Government announcing that refurbishments undertaken on the hospital were now finished.
A brainchild of the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Ekusileni was built in 2001 as specialist hospital but, although it operated briefly, it was shut down after it was discovered that the equipment acquired for the hospital was obsolete.
“On a related matter, Government efforts in refurbishing and upgrading health facilities are beginning to yield the desired results. Government is pleased to announce that Ekusileni Medical Centre has been fully refurbished and will soon be officially opened,” she said.
In addition, other health institutions in the city have also been rejuvenated.
“Thorngrove Hospital was refurbished and upgraded to a 28-bed fully equipped Covid-19 isolation centre and is admitting Covid-19 patients. The first-ever free orthopaedic paediatric hospital and Covid-19 Isolation Centre based at United Bulawayo Hospital is also set to be soon officially opened. The hospital will attend to children with various orthopaedic conditions, including those with congenital deformities from all over the country,” she said.
The improvements made on these hospitals, and the opening of new health facilities dovetails with the vision of President Mnangagwa to make sure that everyone has access to affordable health care services.
Furthermore, the role of health in economic development is analysed by Finlay (2007) via two channels: the direct labour productivity effect and the indirect incentive effect. The labour productivity hypothesis asserts that individuals who are healthier have higher returns to labour input.
The incentive effect is borne of the theoretical literature, and says individuals who are healthier and have a greater life expectancy will have the incentive to invest in education and other areas as the time horizon over which returns can be earned is extended.