Residents call on govt to increase health budget

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THE Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) has called on the government to improve its fiscal commitment towards health services for local authorities in the 2021 budget, the Daily News reports.
This comes as Chra was recently granted an order by the High Court compelling the City of Harare to ensure that
42 of its clinics that had been closed since July are opened by October 14, 2020.

It also comes at a time when the parliamentary portfolio committee on Finance and Economic Development will next week begin nationwide public consultations on the 2021 National Budget with most engagements set to
be conducted virtually due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The government of Zimbabwe cannot be exonerated on the closure of council clinics. Provision of health services by council is an unfunded mandate hence we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to put a reasonable
fiscal commitment towards health for local authorities in the 2012 budget.

“We are disappointed that during the time of a global pandemic, where other governments are prioritising
access to primary health, we have been forced to access this basic right and service via the courts.

“This calls for serious introspection on both local and national leadership. We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to address economic fundamentals and unbridled corruption that has seen the collapse of the health delivery system,” Chra director Loreen Sami told a press conference yesterday.

The council was forced to close its clinics early this year following a strike by nurses and other healthcare workers
who were demanding remuneration in United States dollars or the equivalent and the provision of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) in the wake of Covid-19.

City of Harare’s health services director, Prosper Chonzi, said the council was currently negotiating with nurses in order for them to return to work and facilitate the reopening of the closed clinics.

“The nurses have been on strike for quite some time now but we are trying to resolve their issues. “They went on strike demanding that they want to be paid in US dollars and that they did not have adequate PPE. The strike
has really affected us because nurses are essential to the services we provide within the
community.

“Some of their grievances are genuine so we are working around the clock to ensure that we address them,” Chonzi
said.

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