Policy think tank group, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has bemoaned the failure by Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube to meet the Abuja Declaration of allocating 15 percent of the total budget to health when he presented his 2022 Budget statement.
In its monthly report for December 2021, ZDI said the COVID-19 menace required the strengthening of the health sector with the minister’s budget falling short of the 2001 commitment.
“The health sector in Zimbabwe continues to receive funding that falls short of the universally accepted share of the country’s total budget. The advent of Covid-19 in 2019 and its ravaging effects across the globe required countries to strengthen their health disaster response systems by ensuring adequate health sector funding.
“With new Covid-19 variants being discovered, the country’s health delivery system ought to be strengthened in a bid to reduce the level of catastrophe brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. Such strengthening of health care systems is reflected by the allocation of the health sector in the country’s national budget vis-à-vis the regional standards for health financing. The Zimbabwe 2022 national budget, despite coming against a background of the ravaging effects of Covid-19, failed to meet the Abuja Declaration of allocating 15% of the total budget to health,” read the ZDI report.
The think tank said the need to attain the declaration should have been prioritised in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The need to achieve this feat, in the case of Zimbabwe and other countries in Africa, was made a priority in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which requires that health systems must always be adequately resourced to deal with threats posed by health disasters that are similar to Covid-19,” said the think tank.
In his 2022 budget the Minister allocated 12.7% of the total ZWL$927.3 billion which is expected to be expended.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Abuja Declaration which is a commitment that was made in 2001 by African heads of state to commit 15% of their yearly budgets to funding the health sector.