Prioritise primary health care, govt urged
A LOCAL health lobby group, Community Working Group on Health (CWGH), has called on the incoming government to prioritise primary healthcare to achieve universal health coverage.
CWGH executive director, Itai Rusike, said Zimbabweans expected government to address the health sector’s multifaceted challenges.
“All political parties promised massive improvement in health infrastructure; more health personnel; accessible and affordable medicines; free medical care, improved health services in resettlement areas and pursuing the health for all policy, among others,” said Rusike.
“As CWGH, we summarise this as primary healthcare with clear intentions for the attainment of universal health coverage and, therefore, Sustainable Development Goals.”
He said the incoming government should “immediately shift focus to real developmental issues, particularly taking into account the dire need for improving health service provision for the benefit of ordinary Zimbabweans as articulated in the pre-elections (campaigns)”.
Rusike said the deplorable state of the country’s health system required urgent attention, starting with the primary healthcare system.
Zimbabwe needs sustained investments in primary healthcare to revitalise the health system to close gaps in access to services and to address the causes of ill-health, he said.
“Presently, infrastructure in hospitals is dilapidated, some is obsolete; medicines and supplies are in short supply; doctors, laboratorians, pharmacists, paramedics and nurses are inadequate and poorly motivated. This is against a background of sustained paltry funding to the sector from the fiscus which is of major concern.”
Rusike said the problems in the health sector were compounded by the prevalence of largely preventable diseases, behaviour, lifestyles, environmental and basic water and sanitation issues.
“In recent years, many countries have adopted universal healthcare as a national priority and have committed to directing government funding towards that goal,” he said.