VICE-PRESIDENT Kembo Mohadi has urged African countries to prioritise universal healthcare systems in order to achieve the United Nations’ crafted Sustainable Development Goals.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Mohadi said this while officiating at the 67th East, Central and Southern African Health Community Health ministers’ conference in Victoria Falls yesterday.
The conference is meant to address challenges faced by citizens and contributing towards the attainment of the highest standards of physical, mental and social well-being of African people.
Mohadi said the theme of the conference, Universal Health Coverage: Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved, resonated with the desire for universal access to healthcare.
“As leaders in our different stations, we are obliged to come up with an initiative that ensures people have access to affordable, appropriate and quality healthcare,” he said.
“While we strive for economic development, it is imperative for us to note that social development is unachievable without the access to affordable, appropriate and quality health care.”
Mohadi said the government had been setting up initiatives to fight common diseases so that treatment is universal and easily affordable, including National Aids Trust Fund, together with prepaid health insurance for formally employed people.
“Zimbabwe is on the verge of introducing a law to compel every sector to provide health insurance for its workers. This will be achieved through innovatively crafted packages. Further, a national health insurance for the indigent is being put in place. Government has also set up a health levy based on 5% tax on mobile airtime and data usage. Through this initiative, government realises close to $4 million monthly. We have used this to make blood and dialysis services free to our citizens as well as improve on medicines availability in our public health institutions,” he said.
“Our health services take the primary healthcare approach and we are strengthening this approach by further decentralising from rural health centres to village health posts, which offer a suitable package of services supported by higher levels of care in the system. This is an attempt to bring the delivery of health services as close to citizens as possible.”
He said the government was generating funds through the National Health Accounts and National Aids Spending Assessment and they were confident that such approaches to financing healthcare were going to help the country move toward transitioning from reliance on donor support to a largely domestic-based resourcing for effective universal healthcare in the country.
The conference aims at promoting highest standards of health for the individuals, families and communities through advocacy, capacity building, brokerage, co-ordination, inter-sectoral collaboration and harmonisation and health policies and programmes.
The conference, which comes at a time when the cost of medical care has shot through the roof, ends tomorrow.