Authorities in charge of the day to day running of two of the country’s central hospitals say they appreciate the government’s initiative to introduce a health levy as it is certain to equip the health sector with the necessary resources to ease access of services to the public.
The levy, dubbed: ‘Talk, Surf and Save a Life,’ is being mobilised from five cents being deducted for every dollar of mobile airtime and data usage.
Insufficient budgetary allocations to the health sector were resulting in the country failing to provide sufficient and quality services to the people.
The introduction of a health levy that came into effect in February this year will enable the underprivileged to have access to quality health care services as all state run health institutions are set to benefit immensely from this domestic funding initiative.
Late last year, Harare Central and United Bulawayo hospitals suspended all elective surgeries owing to an essential medicines stock-out, a development that left thousands of people, mostly the poor, desperate.
Harare Central Hospital CEO, Ms Peggy Zvavamwe applauded the introduction of the levy, saying it will improve services in hospitals.
While Chitungwiza Central Hospital had entered into partnerships with some private companies, which were supplying medicines to the institution, the hospital’s CEO, Dr Obediah Moyo welcomed the introduction of the levy, saying the success of the fund will also see a strong advocacy for other options for domestic funding which might also be explored further.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association Secretary General, Mr Enock Dongo lamented that most hospitals had become diagnostic centres but no medication was being dispensed to the people seeking treatment.
Presenting the 2017 Mid-Term Budget Review Statement in Parliament last Thursday, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the health levy fund has so far raised more than US$8 million and resources raised will be ring-fenced for the purchase of drugs and equipment for public hospitals and clinics.
Some hospitals had gotten so desperate to an extent of detaining patients who fail to pay for services rendered.
Some expecting mothers were sometimes told to bring in sundries such as cotton wool, while admitted patients were asked to buy medicines from private pharmacies, scenarios that are now expected to become a thing of the past.