Government is considering introducing a compulsory levy on Zimbabwe’s limited working population to fund a health insurance scheme to cover ordinary citizens who have found it hard to access healthcare.
With the country’s health delivery system on the precipice amid growing concerns over government’s failure to provide social safety nets, participants at a recent workshop suggested a national health insurance scheme could be the answer.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa told journalists last week that government was looking at “innovative mechanisms of financing the health systems”.
“We are looking at partners and donors, but we want them to align to our national system than to come with their own programmes. As a government, we want to contribute more than them because it is a risk to allow them to contribute more,” Parirenyatwa said.
Parirenyatwa gave examples of the Aids Levy that critics have argued has not benefited its intended targets as well as the contentious Community Share Ownership Schemes that have reportedly been plundered by senior government officials.
“We are also looking at taxes, for instance, Aids Levy, the Community Share Community Schemes, all those companies and mines should pay a percentage that should go to health, that’s the community share ownership scheme.
“Government is also looking at taxes from cellphones — some of their money should come into the health system — road accidents, sin tax, alcohol and tobacco,” the Health minister said.
Parirenyatwa added that they had also put up a team to help with resource mobilisation under the health financing mechanism.
“So what we have done now is that we have put up this group to set up a health financing policy in the country which is aligned to universal health coverage, which is primary health care. This means that everyone who wants heath care should be able to access it, and also equity,” Parirenyatwa said.
Parirenyatwa said contribution to the national health insurance scheme would be made compulsory.
“Those who can afford private medical insurance it would be an additional, but they all should pay for the national insurance care.
“We are basically looking at our financing mechanisms. From the fiscus, the Ministry of Finance will be giving us 15% of GDP as declared by Abuja,” he said.