THE Aids and Arts Foundation (TAAF) has called on the government to strengthen health financing by deducting a percentage from tollgate collections and fines collected by institutions such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police, so that they go towards the Health Fund.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
TAAF executive director, Emmanuel Gasa told NewsDay that the government was still struggling to come up with meaningful domestic health financing, hence, the need to consider other methods of raising health funds.
“The ministry of Finance has been unable to disburse the finances allocated to the ministry of Health and Child Care and so there is need for government to come up with policies that explore how they can enhance domestic financing of health,” he said.
“For instance, the government should consider allocating a percentage of funds collected at roadblocks by the police and at tollgates to go towards financing health.”
In the 2017 National Budget, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa allocated $282 million to the Health Ministry, which is (8,2%) of the $4,1 billion budget.
He also announced that all economically active individuals must contribute towards funding health services, and proposed to introduce a health fund levy of 5 cents for every dollar of airtime and mobile data, under the theme, Talk, Surf and Save a Life, adding the fund will go towards procurement of drugs and equipment.
Gasa said there was also need for the government to support local manufacturers of drugs, instead of its continued reliance on donor support.
“Local drug manufacturers must be supported through policies that allow them to easily import raw materials in order to enhance availability of drugs in the country,” he said
Gasa said people living with HIV and Aids were the most affected, as they sometimes failed to get access to drugs.
“TAAF works with displaced people on generic drugs and most of them have had instances, where they are only given three days’ supplies of generic drugs due to shortages. This has resulted in them having to go to clinics constantly to get supplies. Some end up defaulting because they have no money for bus fare to get the drugs, and the situation has been exacerbated by the cash shortages,” he said.