Ministry health

Ministry of Health calls for review of budget allocation

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

THE Ministry of Health has urged Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to revise his 2022 budget allocation for COVID-19 interventions as the country braces for a fourth wave of the global pandemic.

Ncube has allocated $ 117.7 billion (14.9%) of the 2022 national budget of $ 968.2 billion to the Ministry of Health. Although this is an improvement over previous years, the allocation nevertheless remains below the 15% threshold recommended by the Abuja Declaration.

Ncube also announced that the government will set aside emergency funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the government would cover the full cost of purchasing the COVID-19 vaccines under the Gavi co-financing deal, with the government representing $ 350 million.

But the Ministry of Health’s interim finance director Lynette Tennis told the parliamentary health portfolio committee last Thursday that the government had only allocated half of the ministry’s bid for COVID- interventions. 19.

“On COVID-19 funds, we submitted a request for around $ 15 billion. However, only $ 7 billion was used out of what we asked for, which means there is a shortfall, ”Tennis said.

She said that in 2021, the finance ministry only allocated them 10% of their supply in the first quarter and gave them 50% in the last quarter.

Tennis said COVID-19 was one of many challenges facing the Department of Health, including a shortage of project vehicles, lengthy procurement processes, and the lack of comprehensive maintenance plans for buildings and facilities. equipment.

“The 2022 budget has slightly decreased to 12.16% in terms of allocation, compared to the 2021 allocation which was 12.87%.

“There has been a marginal decrease in the allocation of the health budget.

“The public health budget is around 45% lower than we expected from the finance ministry,” she said.

“Currently, we are preparing for the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we wouldn’t want what happened before to repeat itself if there is a surge in cases in January. Probably more funds can be added to help us.

Regarding the communicable disease allowance, Tennis said it was also insufficient.

“We did not get what we wanted, especially for the Parirenyatwa hospital. We hope that more funds will be made available for the central hospital, as it is the main referral center for all our various institutions across the country, ”she said.

“Regarding the blood supply, we asked for $ 1.4 billion but we got $ 500 million. This is a critical area, we need more funds to be able to supply us with blood. It’s really hard to run in the middle of the year.

“If Parliament can help us push for more in terms of the blood supply.”

Tennis said the ministry had also secured 85% of funding for HIV and AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal health and other programs from external development partners like the Global Fund (40%), partners of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (45%), a situation that has made it critical for the government to seek more funding methods for the health sector.

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