As we speak about Vision 2030, where Government has set its goals on attaining a middle income economy by then, there are key variables that make that vision a reality. Healthcare and education are important. This is why, apart from defence, they have a bigger budgetary allocation.
In order for Zimbabwe to be productive, it requires healthy people, workers included. Absence of quality healthcare will spell doom on productivity as Mahatma Gandhi said, “It is health that is real wealth and not prices of gold and silver.”
Our primary healthcare system has not been spared by the economic challenges gripping the nation, but it is commendable to see Government and its friends trying their level best to ensure that our facilities are up to standard, including availability of drugs.
After the Cabinet sitting this week, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, announced that a number of Zimbabwe’s development partners are availing US$30 million for the procurement of essential medications.
These partners have done so, when other nations that imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe with support from some misguided citizens, would want the sanctions regime to continue. It is common knowledge that the purchase of drugs whether from public and/or private pharmacies is the biggest hurdle facing thousands of patients countrywide, especially those suffering from chronic ailments. The drugs are either unavailable or their cost is beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.
This intervention was long overdue, and we hope that more partners come on board.
There are also signs that Government is taking a holistic approach towards the provision of primary healthcare, for it now realises that the millions of dollars in foreign exchange that have been used by patients seeking healthcare services in other countries, could have been used to develop our local infrastructure.
Thus the setting up of the Centre of Excellence that Minister Mutsvangwa referred to is another welcome development: “To address the prevailing situation where patients in need of specialist services are forced to seek treatment outside the country, often at costs beyond the reach of many of our citizens, Government is now working towards the establishment of a specialist hospital wing under the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals,” she said on Tuesday.
Be that as it may, people want to know which drugs are termed “essential” because lack of foreign currency has made every drug indispensable.