POSB rescues Marondera Hospital
Government has collected $18 million since the launch of the Health Levy of $0,05 for every dollar of airtime, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has said.
BY Jairos Saunyama
Speaking during the handover of hospital linen to Marondera Provincial Hospital donated by POSB Bank on Monday, Parirenyatwa said the money would help a lot in the purchase of drugs for hospitals.
“Recently they put up a health levy account where out of every dollar (of airtime bought) we take five cents and the money is channelled into the Health Levy account and to date we have $18m from that. To those who are listening, please use your cellphones a bit more, that five cents has now amounted to $18m.
“Now we are able to look and purchase drugs. We are hoping that in the next few months we are going to ensure that essential drugs should be available in hospitals through that health levy fund,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said currently the country was getting 98% of its drugs from the donor world.
“We also have people who give us money through partnerships and donations. Fortunately or unfortunately, the drug supply has risen to an extent where 98% of all drugs purchased are from donors. So if, as a country, we contribute only 2%, that’s quite dangerous.
“If the donor says it’s enough, or just says the minister made a statement that did not please us and cuts supply, we are a security risk to our own people. So we are pleased with this Health Levy account,” he said.
Currently, doctors at referral hospitals are offering patients prescriptions to go and buy medication at pharmacies, a move that is a burden to low-income earners given the exorbitant prices of medicine.
Parirenyatwa said the Health ministry needs at least 15% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to fully ensure efficient health service delivery.
“Our bid for the 2018 budget was $1,19 billion that is what we bidded for. If we want to employ the staff that we want, alter the infrastructure of the hospitals, if we want to equip the hospitals adequately and we want to train further specialists for provincial hospitals, that is the budget for it. Whether the national budget has it or not that is what we need.
“When we get money from Treasury we are hoping that Finance minister Ignatius Chombo will look upon the health sector and be able to give a sizeable amount of at least 15% of the GDP, this is what the Abuja Declaration says that the health sector should get 15% of the national budget. We are at 6,9% of the GDP. So if we increase it to 15%, there will be a very big difference,” he said.