HARARE – Senetors are seeking what they called a “historic” increase in Health and Child Care ministry spending, but may run into immediate opposition from frugal Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who must approve the plan.
The proposed rise in the health budget comes as Chinamasa has actually slashed the health budget from $330,7 million last year, to $281,9 million this year, which is primarily dedicated to salaries for health sector workers.
The critical health sector got a mere 6,8 percent of the $4,1 billion 2017 National Budget.
“Government must revise their priorities and they must put more resources to the ministry of Health, this will help the country to improve the situation at tertiary institutions in terms of fighting HIV,” Masvingo senator Misheck Marava said.
“The government must empower the ministry of Health because it is an important ministry.”
Zanu PF Mashonaland Central Senator Monica Mavhunga also said the government must give more resources to the Health and Child Care ministry.
“If we need to develop as a nation, we need to give more resources to the ministry of Health. The village workers must be paid, they work with people in rural areas and they are very important. Village workers must be motivated so that we can prevent the spread of diseases,” Mavhunga said.
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has said government is struggling to adequately fund the health sector, jeopardising the operations of the sector.
“For the health system in Zimbabwe, we need $1,3 billion every year and people were saying, ‘ah, but our budget is $4 billion every year, how can you take $1,3 billion?’ But this is what we need, whether we reach there is another thing. That’s why people continue saying our health sector is not operating well because we are not being given that amount that’s needed,” he said.
Fifteen years after the government pledged to allocate at least 15 percent of its annual budget to healthcare by 2015 in the Abuja Declaration, it is dismally failing to meet this goal.