Fiona Ruzha, H-Metro Reporter
HEALTH stakeholders have bemoaned how Covid-19 has been a hindrance to health gains that had been attained over a long period.
This came to light as the country joined the world in commemorating the World Health Day yesterday which ran under the theme ‘Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone’.
This year’s commemorations are again being held in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and during a time when the risk of a third wave in the region is looming.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the pandemic had worsened the already existing inequalities to accessing healthcare services and there was need for an escape plan that also favours vulnerable societal groups.
“Sadly so, the Covid–19 pandemics has abruptly undercut health gains made over many years, making it less likely to achieve sustainable development goal three on the health and well-being for all by 2030.
“The disease has stifled progress towards universal healthcare coverage.
“Hence, this world health day presents to us a moment to reflect on health for all, by addressing existing health inequities and putting in place strategies that place greater attention to improving health equity, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.
“COVID–19 has hit hard, and its impact has been felt the most in communities, which were already vulnerable with fragile healthcare systems.
“The pandemic is said to have caused a decade’s worth of gains in defeating diseases and saving lives.
“This calls for a multi–sectoral approach to achieve efficient and affordable healthcare for everyone who needs it, wherever they are. Strong partnerships between Governments, private sector, foundations, civil society and communities are a prerequisite to achieving desired health outcomes and saving lives,” he said.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said Covid-19 has further amplified gender, social and health inequalities.
However, ZADHR applauded governments across the world on the COVAX initiative, an international solidarity mechanism to ensure that poor countries access vaccines for Covid-19.
“We believe the initiative, if implemented well, has the propensity to support communities in resource limited countries, in getting a fair share of the global vaccines available.
“We also note the strides the Government of Zimbabwe has made in sourcing vaccines and the current roll-out plan.
“But the Ministry of Health and Child Care should do more on vaccine literacy through enhanced public campaigns to popularise the vaccine roll-out plan and on dispelling myths and misconceptions for the purposes of promoting demand for, and uptake of vaccines in the country.
“We also urge the Government of Zimbabwe to invest more in financing the procurement of more vaccines and expanding the geographic reach of the program,” read part of the statement.
The government last week announced that that going forward, the country will be receiving about 1million doses of Covid-19 vaccines per month and a special arrangement has been made with DHLAfrica for the transportation of the vaccines.