The country’s major referral hospitals that had suspended elective surgeries have since resumed after a slight improvement in drug stocks.

The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa said the drug situation has eased slightly but the health sector is still in need of further funding.

Most government hospitals have been battling with drug shortages to an extent that some institutions suspended elective surgeries.

Major referral centres like Harare and Mpilo hospitals had run out of essential drugs like insulin which is used to treat diabetes patients, anesthetic medicines used during surgery and psychiatric drugs.

Some hospitals resorted to using cash raised from fees billed to patients to procure drugs.

“Hospitals have resumed surgeries but the drug situation has not yet normalised,” said Minister Parirenyatwa.

The situation is set to further improve after the 24th of March government gazette which announced that the state has started deducting a 5% health levy on all airtime purchases.

The initiative called: ‘Talk-Surf and Save a Life,’ was introduced by Finance Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa in the 2017 national budget and money raised will be channelled towards the procurement of drugs and hospital equipment.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care got an allocation of US$281,9 million in this year’s national budget, but US$200 million will go towards salaries.

The country’s appointed agent for procurement, storage and distribution of medical supplies to public health institutions, NatPHARM is still owed in excess of US$24 million from as far back as 2009 and in 2016 received US$800 000 making it unable to purchase drugs.