via Govt justifies health Budget | The Herald December 7, 2015
Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa says Budget allocations to the health sector have quadrupled in the past seven years from $78,8 million to $330,8 million.
Addressing delegates attending a session on domestic financing for health during the 18th International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA), Minister Chinamasa said Government was prioritising health in a bid to revitalise the public health delivery system.
Zimbabwe’s public health delivery system suffered its worst in 2008 when most institutions came close to shutting down due to massive staff exodus and shortage of drugs.
“The Budget has been progressively earmarking resources towards the revitalisation of health infrastructure, targeting rural health centres, district, provincial and central hospitals,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Budget allocations in support of infrastructure development averaged around $25 million a year between 2009 and 2016.
The minister said the Government was keen to improve the capacity of the public health delivery system through training and deployment of health workers and so numbers of Government health workers increased from 22 888 in February 2009 to 26 925 in October 2015.
“Domestic financing for HIV, anchored on the AIDS levy collections together with support from development partners which currently accounts for 85 percent of the total funding, have led to the attainment of positive results,” said Minister Chinamasa.
He said Aids levy collections have also grown progressively since the advent of the multi-currency regime in 2009.
The Aids levy has grown from $5,7 million collections in 2009 to about $38,7 million in 2014.
As of October this year, $24,2 million had been collected from the Aids levy.
Minister Chinamasa said treatment, care and support was receiving the biggest chunk of financial resources accounting for 78 percent of the collections.
Commenting on the National Budget, Community Working Group on Health executive director Mr Itai Rusike said although the health allocation was increasing over the years, it remained far from meeting the global commitment agreed in Abuja.
It was agreed in Abuja to allocate the health sector 15 percent of the National Budget.
This year’s allocation accounts for 9,7 percent of the National Budget.
“In terms of the Abuja target, this is clearly a statistic that has lacked consistency over the years,” said Mr Rusike.
He said considering the fact that the 2016 Budget was crafted in an environment of a very tight fiscal space, ministries should spend within their means.
“Given the static nature of the budget, the clear message coming from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was that of encouraging the ministries to spend within their means,” he said.