Zimbabwe Urged to Create Special Fund for Disease Prevention

Health Experts Call for Dedicated Budget to Combat Recurrent Health Crises

by Adenike Adeodun

Zimbabwe’s government is facing a critical call to establish a dedicated fund for disease prevention and control, a move that gains urgency as the nation battles fast-spreading epidemics like cholera. During an infection, prevention, and control (IPC) workshop in Harare, Nyaradzai Chiwara, the Health and Child Care Ministry’s Director of Nursing Services, emphasized this need.

According to a report by Newsday, Chiwara highlighted the challenge of tracking IPC expenditures due to their integration into broader health programs. This current funding structure hampers effective allocation and monitoring of funds crucial for fighting epidemics.

“Countries must have a standalone budget for IPC to support growth and curb healthcare-associated infections, as per the 76th World Health Assembly Resolution in 2023,” Chiwara stated. She noted that Zimbabwe’s IPC funding, dispersed across programs like maternal and child health, sexual reproductive health, and emergency preparedness, needs restructuring.

Chiwara called for a concerted effort from the government, corporations, and the media to enforce standard precautions, including improved hand hygiene practices and rational antibiotic use. Such coordinated action could cut the health burden of antimicrobial resistance by as much as 86%.

Celestino Dhege, President of the Infection Control Association of Zimbabwe Trust, also stressed the urgency of global investment in IPC programs. “The World Health Organisation is pushing member states to increase IPC investments to ensure quality care and protect both patients and health workers,” Dhege said.

Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as a crucial lesson, Dhege underscored the need for a separate emergency budget. “COVID-19 has taught us the value of dedicated IPC funds, extending beyond basic hand hygiene to a wide array of preventive measures,” he explained.

Dhege expressed optimism that the government would provide adequate funding to strengthen the health system and avert diseases. “In collaboration with the ministry, we have formulated a strategic budget aimed at enhancing health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs,” he concluded.

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