THE move by Government to pump more funding into the health sector marks the continuation of the drive for universal health care.
It is undeniable that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation and one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is that efficient health services provision are essentia to any nation.
The government has announced that it will next year employ 11,200 health workers to improve health service delivery in the country.
Minister of Finance and National Planning, Situmbeko Musokotwane said the recruitment will improve the quality of healthcare provision as well as reduce the backlog of unemployed frontline health personnel.
Speaking when he presented the 2022 national budget in Parliament, the Minister stated that health workers who have been employed but do not receive their salaries will also be put on payroll.
Dr. Musokotwane disclosed that K13.9 billion has been allocated to the health sector for operations including recruitment of workers in the 2022 national budget.
“In the health sector, we will focus on providing equitable access to quality healthcare services at all levels of service delivery. In this regard, I propose to spend a total of K13.9 billion which includes an allocation for recruitment of 11,200 healthcare personnel.,” he said.
Zambia, has for a long time been plagued with an acute shortage of health personnel both in urban and rural settings.
Just recently, the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) reported the arrest of a man in Mpulungu for providing health services when he is not trained.
He was caught in the act of administering drugs to a person complaining of a sexually transmitted infection.
It is sad that for very many Zambians, private facilities are the only option for swift medical attention and many public health centres are congested.
The Minister added that of the total allocation to the health sector, K3.4 billion has been allocated for the procurement of essential drugs and medical supplies including Covid-19 vaccines.
“This represents more than double the allocation in the 2021 Budget towards drugs and medical supplies,” he observed.
The Minister further indicated that measures have been put in place to improve supply management systems to ensure availability of essential medicines and medical supplies.
“The procurement of medicines and medical supplies will be undertaken by the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency in accordance with the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency Act,” he stated.
Dr. Musokotwane further said government will continue to prioritize equipping and re-equipping health facilities across the country with modern equipment.
And the Minister said government will continue with the
programme of construction and completion of health infrastructure throughout the country to increase access to quality and affordable healthcare services.
He added that to ensure that healthcare is affordable, government will reform the National Health Insurance Scheme to benefit all.
“We will increase financing towards epidemic and pandemic management to prepare for unforeseen diseases such as Ebola and Covid-19. As we do so, efforts will be made to ensure there is no disruption in the delivery of routine health programmes,” he stressed.
Dr. Musokotwane said in addition, government will pay particular attention to addressing communicable and non-communicable diseases.
He thanked the frontline healthcare workers for their sacrifices and bravery in saving the lives of people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We look forward to the deployment of more medical personnel to health facilities and the supply of essential drugs equitably across the country.