HARARE – Once again, Zimbabwe is battling another health crisis — a typhoid outbreak.
It is sad and extremely disheartening that we continue to suffer from medieval diseases such as typhoid.
It reflects badly on our leadership and nation as a whole. It’s humiliating.
This calls for serious action and commitment by government towards better health for its citizens.
Typhoid, together with cholera, which also continues to haunt poor hapless Zimbabweans, are diseases which were long eradicated in other countries.
This is not the first time Zimbabwe has made news due to cholera and typhoid outbreaks.
Back in 2006/8, thousands of lives were lost to cholera, while scores were infected.
While government desperately tried to contain the crisis, non governmental organisations had to come to the rescue and save the situation.
But it seems authorities did not and have not learnt a lesson, hence the continued recurrence of the cholera outbreak.
This speaks to government, local authorities and other stakeholders upping their game.
They need to take responsibility.
They are accountable for the people’s health.
But government’s continued poor budget allocations towards the health sector leave a lot to desired.
Year-in year-out, the health sector has been allocated paltry funds, with the void always being filled by well wishers — reducing Zimbabwe to a charity case.
In the 2018 National Budget, disappointingly again, government allocated less than $500 million towards the health sector, against a $1 billion-plus desperately needed by the sector.
Public hospitals are yearning for help.
They have no basic drugs, including painkillers, let alone poor infrastructure.
On the other hand, poor water supply and service delivery has created a breeding ground for diseases such as cholera. This is happening amid big expenditure on non-core business by the local authority.
It seems our priorities are warped.
And this has exposed struggling Zimbabweans to unwarranted suffering.
Government and other responsible stakeholders need to take the nation’s health serious.
So far, it has been all talk — including the free maternal and medical attention for under fives — without any meaningful action.
The poor masses will continue suffering, failing to access basic and decent medical attention, while the rich elite spend a fortune seeking treatment overseas.
That must be buried in the dustbin of deposed president Robert Mugabe’s history.
Our leaders must be the change they wanted to see and pushed for.