Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is optimistic that his country will soon start devoting 15 per cent of its annual national budget to the health sector despite economic sanctions imposed on his country by the western world.
Speaking at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Malaria Day commemoration in border town of Victoria Falls yesterday, Mr Mugabe said Zimbabwe was currently committing 12 per cent of its annual budget to the health sector.
In 2001, African Heads of State and Government decided in Abuja to commit 15 per cent of their national annual budgets towards the health sector, which include the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The Zimbabwean leader said his country has been failing to access funds from the international donor agencies such as the Global Fund because of sanctions imposed on the country by western
Mr Mugabe said despite the sanctions, which started seven years ago, his government has successfully managed to implement HIV/AIDS intervention programmes using its own resources.
The president has since urged African countries to reduce dependence on the international donor
community, saying this was the only effective way that would warrant total control of the African economies.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the SADC ministers of health, Brian Chituwo has congratulated Zimbabwe for successfully implementing her HIV/AIDS programmes amid unpleasant economic sanctions.
Dr Chituwo, who is also Zambia’s minister of health, said the SADC region would endeavour to continue improving the health standards of its people.
And Namibia’s minister of health and social services, Richard Kamwi said in a vote of thanks that SADC ministries of health would continue to support Zimbabwe’s health sector.