Govt investment in health cause for concern

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By Alois Vinga

LABOUR and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe has bemoaned significant reductions in the country’s health financing thresholds.

In an interview with Business on the sidelines of a workshop on socio-economic rights held in the capital, LEDRIZ senior researcher, Prosper Chitambara said that the current figures are a cause for concern.

“Our analysis shows that government is currently investing US$3 per every individual in Zimbabwe which is far below the Sadc’s averages hovering around US$200. Other countries in the region like South Africa are doing better as they are spending US$600 per citizen on health,” Chitambara said.

The renowned economist said at least 30% of health costs in Zimbabwe are being funded out of pocket, while between 15 to 20 % is coming through public financing and another 20 % through private sector financing while the rest is supported by the donor community.

“So you can see that out of pocket financing constitutes the largest proportion which is equal to donor financing. Such a trend is worrying because there is a close relationship between health expenditure, productivity and overall economic growth,” Chitambara said.

The remarks come at a time when most insurance companies in the country are failing to meet their claim demands owing to demands for down-payments by most pharmacies and in foreign currency.

In 2016 , government approved the setting up of a National Health Insurance Scheme which was meant to be placed under the National Social Security Authority in a move aimed towards bridging health financing gaps existing in the country.

Continentally, Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Abuja Declaration which compelled member states to set aside 15% of their annual budget allocations towards health expenditure.