The government of Zimbabwe has again failed to live up to its signature to the Abuja Declaration where it agreed to allocate 15% of its budget to the health sector.
Since signing, Zimbabwe has failed to meet the threshold that is seen as being critical in capacitating the health sector.
Presenting the 2023 National Budget, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told legislators that he is allocating only 11% to the health sector and is expecting Development partners to chip in with US$ 212.9 million.
“In 2023, the Budget has set aside 11% of total expenditures towards the health sector and the objective is to eventually meet the Abuja Declaration of 15%. This is necessary to attain Vision 2030 of becoming an upper middle-income economy.
“The health sector also benefits from Development Partner support, having received a total of US$408.3 million during the first nine months of 2022.
“The support went towards the areas of maternal, newborn, child adolescent and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria prevention programs, and strengthening of the health delivery systems.
“In 2023, the sector is projected to receive US$212.9 million from the development partners towards the same areas,” he said.
Turning to the health workers, the under-pressure minister acknowledged the impact of poor working conditions and added that the government was working to improve the situation.
“The sector faces challenges related to high staff turnover, with an overall vacancy rate of 13% and more pronounced among the specialist doctors’ categories. The high turnover of health personnel is compromising the provision of health services in the public sector.
“Government is, however, addressing this challenge through continuous review of both monetary and non-monetary incentives in order to attract and retain medical personnel.
“Health-specific allowances have generally been indexed to the USD, to address the impact of inflationary pressures. Issues and concerns with the current allowances structure under various categories is also being addressed,” he said.
On non-monetary benefits, Minister Ncube said the government has set aside resources for the construction of institutional accommodation at various health centres, including procurement of staff buses and operational vehicles.
He added that currently, the government and banks are working on a Vehicle Guarantee Fund, to ensure sustainability and wider access to vehicle loans at concessionary terms for health workers.
According to the Minister, the government has also approved a housing guarantee fund to enable health workers easier access to affordable loans from banks.
He said since inception 637 staff members have benefited from the scheme. Furthermore, members are benefiting from the vehicles duty-free dispensation to import personal vehicles using free funds. To date, over 1 000 health workers have benefited from the scheme
Mthuli Ncube fails to allocate 15% of the budget to health