Harare, Zimbabwe(News of the South)-The Community Working Group on Health has outlined various factors still constraining the local health sector in the country whilst maintaining the need for government to come up with creative ways to fund the critical sector.
In a position paper released during a post budget meeting on Friday in Harare the CWGH has stated that funding for the sector is still little whilst reliance on external financing is too high.
“Th high dependency on external financing is unreliable, unpredictable, unsustainable and highly dependent on the political environment, raising concerns on the sustainability of health financing institutions”
“This also has implications for equity, as out of pocket payment hit the poorest the hardest”, it said.
According to the paper the main sources of health financing are employers accounting for 28% followed by households at 25%, external financing at 24% and government trails far behind at 21.4%
In the structurally damaged country the number, quality and capability of health care workers as a ratio of the population is also very low.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as at 2011 Zimbabwe had a skilled health professionals density, per 10 000, of 12.7
“This points to a huge deficit as WHO identified in 2006 a minimum density threshold of 22.8 skilled health professionals per 10 000 people to provide the most basic health coverage.
As a way to deal with these challenges CWGH has urged government to boost spending on health without undermining fiscal sustainability by exploring strategies for innovative mobilisation of significant resources building on best practices.
These include taxing goods and services that are considered bad for the individual or society at large.
“Examples include taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and products and activities with negative environmental consequences”
“Other progressive tax options include property tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax”, it said.
The state of the country’s health facilities has continued deteriorating over the years as the acute economic ,conditions have suffered.
The case has not been helped by the withdrawal of international financial institutions from lending the country any money due to a huge debt.
As at December 2016 total public debt for both domestic and external stood at a staggering US$11.3 billion of which US$7.3 billion is external.0
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