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Zim’s Health Sector Ill Equipped to Counter Epidemic Diseases

Zimbabwe’s health sector remains in critical need of funds, especially from the donor community if it is to be saved from its critical condition and achieve world class health delivery, a government minister has said.

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr Aldrin Musiiwa said Zimbabwe still struggles with financial and medicinal resources to counter epidemic diseases like stunting and still relies on funds and donations to achieve the highest standard of health care.

Musiiwa made the remarks while officiating at the launch of the Department for International Development (DFID)-Funded Resilient Health Systems Strengthening Program.

Said Musiiwa “One of the areas which we seem to be having running battles with are epidemic prone diseases such as Typhoid and as a country you can never have anything ready for any emergency,

“The support for capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks and epidemics is most welcome,

“The rain season is about to begin and assistance is needed to ensure that the country is ready for any emergencies,” said Musiiwa.

He added that as a Ministry they have set ambitious goals which  still need funding for them to be met.

“Going forward we have set ourselves ambitious targets as given in our National Health Strategy of which on an annual basis we need over 1 billion USD,

“My ministry has recently been discussing with Parliament on the allocation of resources to health,

“We are cognizant of the fact that on our own , we will not be able to achieve this mission but rather a lot can be achieved  through strong partnerships and support from all health partners and involvement of all stakeholders ” he added.

Through the Department for International Development (DFID), the UK government donated US$82.1 million to improve sexual reproductive health and nutrition services for women, adolescents and children.

Majority of the grant will finance health interventions implemented under the Health Development Fund while US$2.2million will be for strengthening Zimbabwe’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks said DFID Head of Mission, Annabel Gerry.

“Through the UK’s support, the availability of basic medicines in rural health centres has risen from 12% to over 90%, there has been community engagement in creating employment for granny nannies and we have seen an increase in the contraceptive prevalence from 57% to 66% putting Zimbabwe above the global average and over double the continental average,

“These are impressive numbers and it is important to remember that behind every statistic is a life changed and in many cases a life saved,

“Through this, DFID continues to support the recovery of the health system and of health services across the country,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Mohamed Ayoya noted that the UK government has been long-term supporter of the health sector in Zimbabwe and the programme will continue to see the UK continue to support implementation of the National Health Strategy 2016-20.

“A resilient health system is the bedrock of a country’s development aspirations,” said Ayoya

However important milestones have been achieved in the provision of universal access to sexual reproductive health services for women and adolescents, these include family planning, cervical cancer screening, fistula repair surgery, HIV prevention services for key populations.

During this period, Africa sustained one of the highest contraceptive prevalence rates, 310 000 women were screened for cervical cancer since 2013, 300 women have received fistula repair surgery and more than 41 000 women and girls received gender based violence services.

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