Half a million people in dire need Of ARVs

 

MORE than 500 000 HIV infected people face a health risk as they are in urgent need of anti-retroviral (ART) drugs, a health official has said.

By Edward Makuzva

Health and Child care Permanent Secretary, Dr Gerald Gwinji said out of the 1.5 million HIV infected people countrywide, only 800 000 are on the ART programme and the rest are in need of drugs as the government is not in a position to acquire the much needed medication.

“Resources are not enough, funding from our partners cannot fund all our programmers in the health sector so we need to come up with strategies to provide resources in critical areas of the sector.

“We are working towards reducing child mortality in Zimbabwe and we also need to improve on a lot of areas,” said Gwinji.

Dr Gwinji stressed that that the Ministry of Health and Child Care is in the process of formulating a strategy to reduce a burden on those who cannot finance their health.

“The elderly people are the main target because they are not gainfully employed,” he said.

Even though the government’s policy allows children who are below five years and those above 65 years to have a free health service at all government health institutions, the elderly have been facing challenges as they are forced to pay for other services such as x-rays and drugs.

The Secretary added that institutions do not want to charge because the country’s populace is struggling to survive but, the situation has pushed the ministry to charge for other services.

“We are considering having a thorough screening programme that will allow those who cannot pay for any service to be treated without partial payment,” Gwinji explained.

The government of Zimbabwe Monday signed five financial agreements amounting to $97 million under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme (NIP) of $259.74 million.

Health ministry is the biggest recipient with $60.5 million as support to the Health Transition Fund 2015 and the Health Development Fund 2016-2020, administered by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Gwinji said the amount would support all five pillars of Health which include human resources, infrastructure, medicine, technology and capacity development.