Home » Health » A Nation’s Health Must Be Prioritised

Reports that top Ministry of Health and Child Care officials were siphoning off funds meant for midwives and other primary care health facilities demonstrates the need for Government intervention in the interest of transparency and accountability. Corruption in the health sector comes at a time when the country’s health delivery system is in a parlous state as witnessed in public hospitals and rural clinics.

It becomes shameful and unacceptable when people entrusted by the public to represent them use public funds to profiteer at the expense of the poor.

The majority of the officials who are corrupt are the same people who can afford to seek medical attention outside.

Government should deal decisively with these people because the innocent are losing their lives due to the greedy and viciousness of a few health officials.

Hospitals in the country are unable to undertake basic operations because of shortages of anaesthetics, sutures, and other essential supplies.

Sometimes it is disheartening when people narrate experiences of poor health delivery. Incidents where both mother and child die during birth are unacceptably high in the country as statistics on maternal mortality show.

Just recently at Zvishavane District Hospital it was reported that they had shortage of basic resources such as blankets to an extent that patients brought their own.

Government, through relevant ministries, should make sure that there is accountability and transparency to reverse the decline in delivery systems, especially universal access to primary healthcare by the vulnerable.

There are several cases in the country where poor people are referred to seek medical attention outside the country.

Public health institutions are the main referral hospitals in Zimbabwe.

However, major hospitals have all but run aground without X-ray materials, injectable antibiotics and anticonvulsants while emergency equipment often malfunctions, where available.

It is a crisis. A decade ago, Zimbabwe’s public health system was ranked among the best in Africa. The health delivery system has alarmingly deteriorated medication is expensive, people are dying and health workers are poorly paid.

Hospitals are also failing to dispense antibiotics and pain killers, forcing patients to turn to private pharmacies and clinics which are expensive.

If the corrupt tendencies in the health sector persist, the dream of attaining millennium development goals by 2015 will remain just an illusion.

Everyone working for State-linked enterprises should be cognisant that they cannot profiteer at the expense of the public.

Some staff in the health sector such as midwives and nurses in rural areas work tirelessly while the bosses are channelling their benefits to personal use.

Transparency and accountability in the sector will benefit the poor because money allocated to benefit the public will indeed benefit them.

It is not surprising that those who abuse funds in the sector use “public needs” a scapegoat to siphon donor money for personal gain.

Blood and other essential drugs are becoming expensive for the poor. Government should act quickly to save the vulnerable who are dealing with an unjust health sector.

What Zimbabweans need in the health sector are people who serve the country not looters and extortionists who use their positions to feed their gluttony.

It is high time Government put resources to rehabilitate the public health sector.

Declining budgetary allocations have seen it failing to purchase basic equipment and pay decent salaries and other incentives to workers.

Source : The Herald

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