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Zimbabwe, 27 January 2017: Government launches the National Health Strategy 2016-2020

© UNICEF/EMUPFUMIRA 2017

As it strives to strengthen national health systems and provide equitable access to quality healthcare for all, the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has launched the National Health Strategy for 2016-2020 (NHS 2016-2020). The strategy is being launched alongside two supporting documents, the Essentials Health Benefits Package, and the World Health Organization Country Cooperation Strategy.

The NHS, the theme of which is Equity and Quality of health, leaving no-one behind, responds to the burden of disease by focusing on four major priorities: communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, reproductive and maternal health, and public health surveillance and disaster preparedness and response. These priorities are aimed at reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality, decreasing HIV infections and increasing the number of HIV positive patients of ART, and strengthening environmental health service and early detection of disease outbreaks.

”The Strategy builds on the gains achieved in the health sector over the last five years,” said UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli. “As we have noted from both the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and the Demographic and Health Survey, child and maternal mortality have been in decline in the last few years. We in the UN family remain committed to coordinating and harmonizing our support to the Government in line with our commitments to Delivering-as-One.”

The Strategy is being launched at a time when the Government of Zimbabwe is implementing the cost cutting measures in an effort to maximize the performance of the health systems within a reduced fiscal space due to limited funding from Treasury. The Essential Health Benefits Package lists the minimum public health and clinical interventions that are guaranteed at different levels of care. This will assist in increasing cost effectiveness while concentrating limited resources on interventions that provide the best value for money.

“We need more home grown solution to funding for health care, and I would like to thank the Ministry of Finance for heeding to our constant cry for more resources by availing us with another earmarked levy the 5 per cent tax on data and cell phone airtime,” said Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. David Parirenyatwa.

The NHS is part of a larger process that aims to align the country priorities with the real health needs of the population; generate buy-in across government, health and development partners, civil society and the private sector; and make better use of all available resources for health – so that all people in all places have access to quality health care and live longer, healthier lives as a result. The WHO’s Country Coorperation Strategy will work alongside the NHS to assist in the achievement of the four priority areas.

“The WHO’s Country Cooperation Strategy Document which is being launched concurrently with the NHS is WHO and Zimbabwe’s own internal effort to identify areas in the NHS where WHO’s inputs could make a difference based on our comparative advantage,” said the WHO Representative, Dr David Okello.

Other key issues that will be addressed in the implementation of the Strategy include, investment in health systems strengthening, leveraging multi-sectoral actions, gender mainstreaming specifically targeting women and young girls to improve equity and community participation at all levels.

 

 
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