Zimbabwean journalist, Brezh Malaba has said last year’ budget allocation to the health sector indicates that the ZANU PF government does not prioritise the citizens’ health.
He speaks at the backdrop of a coronavirus resurgence that has seen many people dying. Brezh Malaba posted on Twitter on Sunday:
The rapidly escalating Covid-19 death toll has rudely reminded Zimbabwe’s political elites that they dare not neglect the healthcare sector. The state of the health system is literally a matter of life and death. Destroying the health sector is tantamount to criminal negligence.
Crumbling healthcare is the outcome of a multi-faceted governance crisis that pervades every facet of life in this country. The situation is dire: Gross under-funding of hospitals, corruption, decaying health infrastructure, exodus of medical professionals, low investment in research.In 2020, the govt allocated ZW$54.7bn (about US$170m) to health, which was 13% of total national budget, below the 15% threshold stipulated by the Abuja Declaration. As a result, per capita spending on health in Zim is well below US$50, compared to the region’s US$90. A pittance.
Clearly, the health of citizens isn’t a priority. How on earth can a govt allocate US$170m and then expect the donor community to chip in with a whopping US$500m? If a country doesn’t prioritise its own healthcare, why should anyone expect “imperialist” donors to pick up the tab?
Political elites have often been criticised for “neglecting the health sector” since they can and have been getting medical attention from abroad.
As a huge number of government officials has succumbed to COVID-19, some say the government will probably start realising the importance of investing in the local health care system.
In 2019, self-trained Mbare midwife, Mbuya Esther Zinyoyo-Gwena made headlines after delivering 250 babies in 2 weeks during the famous nurses’ strike of 2019 an indication that the health sector was collapsed.
More: Brezh Malaba on Twitter