Opportunity for ReBUILD research uptake in the Zimbabwean President's first 100 days in officeTuesday, 01 Oct 2013
By Shungu Munyati and Brian Chandiwana, ReBUILD Researchers for the Zimbabwe team
Initial results from one of ReBUILD’s sub-studies on Impact of User Fees in Zimbabwe led by the Biomedical Research Training Institute (BRTI) highlights the erratic supply of essential drugs in public health facilities. This effectively renders public health facilities as inaccessible to the majority of Zimbabweans especially those who are poor and living with chronic illnesses. Consultation is free, but without drugs this is meaningless as the patients from poor households cannot afford to buy drugs from private pharmacies. Some of the patients' costs for drugs is above US$45.00 per month and yet some patients with chronic illnesses like chronic cardiac failure, diabetes, epilepsy and hypertension can not even spare US$3.00 per month for the basic drugs.
The Presidential campaign focused on addressing these issues, and in his inauguration speech on the 23rd August 2013, His Excellency, President Robert Mugabe affirmed his commitment by stating that: “Often our clinics have run out of essential drugs, vital pieces of equipment and accessories. Rural areas have been hit hardest. That area must be stabilised as a matter of urgency”.
The President's first one hundred days in office provide a pivotal opportunity to advocate for more resources to be allocated to the Ministry of Health and Child Care to ensure improvement in the availability of drugs in health facilities throughout the country. The ReBUILD project, through research uptake activities must take this opportunity to share its preliminary results with the Parliamentary Committee for Health and other key stakeholders so that project results can influence policy.
Special attention is required in rural areas, where supplies are particularly scarce. The opportunity now is to re-invest in the vital lifeline of Zimbabwe's health service and ensure health is mainstreamed and prioritised in forthcoming budget negotiations.
For more information about the ReBUILD research findings in Zimbabwe, please contact the Zimbabwe Project Director-Shungu Munyati.