GOVERNMENT has released $7,6 million to the Health Development Fund (HDF) for the purchase of essential medicines and equipment for State health institutions countrywide.
BY STAFF REPORTER
The contribution comes from the recently-introduced Health Fund Levy through which 5% of duty charged on airtime is ring-fenced to improve access to quality health care for all Zimbabweans.
“As government, we appreciate the continued support and contribution that development partners have made to the health sector through the HDF,” Health ministry permanent secretary, Gerald Gwinji said.
“They (development partners) have asked us, as government, to support this commitment by also investing appropriately into the health services provision. Here we take advantage of Unicef’s procurement mechanism and economies of scale to utilise part of the Health Levy to purchase essential drugs and medicines.”
The contribution will be pooled with other donor funds and managed through Unicef as the HDF manager.
Unicef will use its procurement systems to efficiently purchase the products while ensuring value-for-money and taking advantage of economies of scale.
“We share the government’s commitment to providing every Zimbabwean, especially women and children, with access to the highest quality of health care possible. To this end, we will do everything possible to ensure that the medicines and equipment reach health facilities in the shortest possible time,” acting Unicef representative, Jane Muita said.
In addition to the funding, the government says that it has met its 2017 co-financing obligation of $600 000 to the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) to improve the availability of vaccines through 2018. This was a big shot in the arm for the Zimbabwe Expanded Programme on Immunisation, which aims to drastically reduce vaccine-preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles in under-five children.
HDF is a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism established to revitalise health services and reduce maternal and child mortality.
Managed by Unicef, the HDF has been the primary means through which donors have channelled their financial contributions to Zimbabwe’s health sector.
Key contributors were the governments of the United Kingdom, which committed $68,4 million, Ireland, $4 million, Sweden, $20 million, the European Union, $62,7 million and GAVI $1,2 million.