HARARE – The Harare City Council (HCC) should allocate 15 percent of its annual budget to health in line with the Abuja Declaration, rights doctors have said.
African governments 12 years ago pledged in the Abuja Declaration to allocate at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to healthcare by 2015.
Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights (ZDHR) said health concerns of Harare residents must be factored into the final city budget.
“Further, in its budget allocations, the council should remain cognisant of the guarantees of the new Constitution,” ZDHR said in a statement. “Chapter 4 Sections 76 and 77 guarantee the right to healthcare and right to safe water respectively.
“The council is therefore a key player in the realisation of these entitlements. In so doing, the city council must also be guided by resolutions of the 64th World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda on drinking water, sanitation and health.”
Access to safe drinking water and sanitation was of utmost importance as they are the basis for primary prevention to disease.
ZADHR highlighted that HCC should improve water quality and ensure that it is provided in adequate quantities.
“Disease prevention costs less than disease control. Proper sewage disposal and consistent refuse collection are essential in disease control,” the rights doctors said.
In a pre-budget meeting, Prosper Chonzi, the city health director, said though provision for water appears to be a priority in budget consultations, health was also important.
“Prevention is better than cure. By providing clean water to the residents, we tend to fight off many potential incidents of disease outbreaks,” Chonzi said.
According to town clerk Tendai Mahachi, HCC spends $100 000 per day on water treatment chemicals and $3 million every month.
Thomas Muzuva, the deputy mayor, said council was working on developing the Kunzvi, Muda and Musami dams to cater for Harare’s growing population.
Engineer Vumisani Sithole recently told delegates during the tour of Morton Jaffray water works that the treatment plant was pumping 400 megalitres against a maximum output capacity of 614 megalitres.
He also lamented that Prince Edward water works was also at low capacity with an output of 60 megalitres against installed capacity 90 megalitres.