16 September 2016
Government is in the process of coming up with a health finance policy which is aligned to universal health coverage that should see everybody in need of health care accessing it without suffering financial loss, the Health Minister has said.
Speaking during the National Health Care Financing Policy high level consultation meeting on Thursday in the capital, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa expressed optimism that the finalised health policy would see every citizen having access to health care.
“We have put up a team to help with resource mobilisation but under a health financing mechanism. We want to put up a health financing policy in the country which is aligned to the Universal health coverage.
“Universal coverage simply means primary health care; everybody should access health care with equity and all citizens should not suffer financial loss after accessing health care,” he said.
“Universal health coverage has a direct impact on a population’s health. Access to health services enables people to be more productive and active contributors to their families and communities. It also ensures that children can go to school and learn.
“We are fully aware that universal health coverage is not cheap, but it is affordable when the right policies are in place. However, there is need to realise that such a goal also requires a well-defined and a commitment in order to be achieved.”
Minister Parirenyatwa said when complete, this policy will include a national health insurance scheme that will provide a basic health care package for all.
“We are now looking at financing mechanisms, how much Treasury is giving us; it should abide with the Abuja Declaration where 15 percent should go towards the health sector.
“Secondly we are working on developing the national health insurance scheme that should provide a basic package for everybody while those who afford can have their private medical health insurance schemes but we expect them to contribute towards the national scheme.”
Minister Parirenyatwa argued that as the nation develops its health financing policy, they expert partners and donors to align with the nation’s systems rather than to impose their own programmes.
“These are some of the things that we are looking at in this policy, we however look forward to having a health system which does not heavily rely on donor funding. We currently depend on donor funding which is not healthy for any nation; it is actually a very huge risk.
“We also looking at taxes, phone taxes, alcohol, tobacco and so forth some of them should contribute towards health.
“We have a cocktail of all experts who are now critiquing the policy that we have put together, so they can panel bit it,” he added.
The Health Minister says he also hopes that Treasury will increase funding for the health sector arguing that.
Currently, the country does not have a health insurance system while at least 90 percent of the population have no access to medical aid
Minister Parirenyatwa reiterated that there was need to think outside the box and use the health care financing policy as a guiding tool for all decisions on how resources will be raised, pooled and use-pooled funds.