via Doctors call for better water, health services | The Zimbabwean 04.11.13 by ZADHR
As the City of Harare conducts the 2014 budget consultative process, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) intensifies its calls for increased budget allocation to health. The Harare City Council should give precedence to health. The local government authority of Harare, like the central government should strive to meet the 15% budget allocation to health as recommended in the Abuja Declaration.
ZADHR recommends that in conducting budget consultations, there is need for holistic citizen participation. Consultations must be inclusive and the health concerns of residents must be factored in to the final budget. The City, in its endeavors, must not seek to railroad or arm-twist the participants into swallowing wholesale the propositions of the people leading the consultative process as the outcome of such budget consultations must be sensitive and responsive to the citizens’ need. Multi-sectoral stakeholder involvement is also key if the consultation process is to have buy in from both the residents and the business. It is therefore, paramount that the council integrates the views of the residents, business and civil society.
Further, in its budget allocations the Council should remain cognizant of the guarantees of the new Constitution. Chapter 4 Sections 76 and 77 guarantee the right to healthcare and right to safe water respectively. The council is therefore a key player in the realization of these entitlements. In so doing the city council must also be guided by resolutions of the 64th World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Health. Paragraph 3 of the 64th WHA resolution is to the effect that, national public health strategies should highlight the importance of safe drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene as the basis for primary prevention. The nexus between access to safe water and sanitation and health should not be downplayed. The right to health can never be achieved without the enjoyment of the right to clean water.
As health professionals, we urge the city council to improve water quality and sanitation and to ensure that water is provided in adequate quantities as the shortcomings of the city and central government health systems will end up in our hands. Disease prevention costs less than disease control. Proper sewage disposal and consistent refuse collection are essential in disease control.
Meanwhile, the central government should go all out to fund the construction of the Kunzvi, Musami and Muda Dams to supplement Lake Chivero. This will see the city being able to increase access to safe and portable water to its residents. Only then can cholera, typhoid and dysentery, which have left many residents in Harare suffering, be totally eradicated.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) recognizes the position of doctors and other health professionals as frontline witnesses of progress in the realization of human rights, and also acknowledges the power of the voices of health care workers to influence policy and its implementation.