via ‘Health sector suffers from underfunding’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 7, 2014
THE health budget allocation continues to dwindle since 2011 resulting in government failing to meet demands in the sector, a local health think-tank Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) has said.
In his report on the post 2014 health budget analysis, CWGH executive director Itai Rusike also revealed that since 2009 the bulk of the Health ministry expenditure went towards meeting wages contrary to international best practices of a ratio of 30:70 for wage and non-wage expenditures.
In the 2014 national budget presented in December, the Health and Child Care ministry got $337 million which is 8,2% of the total budget allocation and is slightly less than what was allocated in 2013 (9,87%).
According to Rusike, the health allocation also failed to meet what was stipulated by the 2001 Abuja Declaration on Health that Zimbabwe is signatory to which demands that 15% of all national budgets should go towards health.
“Expenditure as a share of the allocated budget has been falling since 2011 when in that year the ministry of Health and Child Care was able to access all the funds that it was allocated,” Rusike said.
“Overall, the ministry was able to access and spend 61,9% of the allocated funds as of November 2013 and failure to access all the budget funds has been attributed to the fiscus’ low revenue generation capacity and the cash budgeting system, where ministries can only access funds when they become available.”
Rusike said some negative developments about the health budget included reduction in allocations for maternal and child health, allocations to government hospitals and health centres and also reductions in allocations for non-communicable diseases.
“Maternal and child health was allocated $6 million in 2013, but managed to access $2,6 million and for the 2014 budget the figure has been reduced to $5 million. Government hospitals and health centres were allocated $23,7 million in 2013 and accessed $15,9 million and for 2014 the allocation has been reduced to $20,7 million. Non-communicable diseases and the village health worker line budgets have been reduced in the 2014 budget,” he said.
He, however, said there were positive developments such as the capitalisation of Natpharm to the tune of $2,5 million and increases in allocation to local authorities, mission hospitals and an allocation on a new line item, Cancer Advocacy.