Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sylvia Masebo officially closes the three-day national health financing dialogue

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Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo has officially closed the three-day national health financing dialogue in Chongwe with a call for prudent utilisation of the resources entrusted to the health sector.

The meeting attracted various stakeholders that included World Health Organisation, African Union, SADC Health Office, UNAIDS, Global Fund, Parliamentary Health Committee and Zambia Private Sector Alliance.

In her final speech at the forum, Ms. Masebo said good governance should be on top of the agenda to instill confidence from Stakeholders to achieve better health outcomes.

The Chongwe Member of Parliament said it was evident from the meeting that not only is it the amount of resources that matters but also measures put in place to promote the prudent utilization of the resources in the health sector.

“You may agree with me that we have had three days of fruitful discussions introspecting ourselves how we have performed with respect to resource mobilisation and the utilization thereof. It is evident from this meeting that not only is it the amount of resources that matters but also measures put in place to promote the prudent utilization of the resources entrusted to the health sector. Thus, Governance should be on top of the agenda to instill confidence from our Stakeholders to achieve better health outcomes. As we may be aware, the supplies required by the health sector come from the private sector, it is evident from this meeting that the local suppliers have not fully taken up the role they ought to play. We therefore need to deal with all bottlenecks that prevent their effective participation. We need to see ourselves progressing to have more medical supplies and equipment manufactured locally. Further, we need to promote more partnerships between international suppliers and our local suppliers. This will not only serve our forex but also create the much-needed employment locally,” Ms. Masebo said.

She said the resolve by the Parliamentary group to dedicate a component of the CDF resources for procurement of ambulances and construction of maternity wings will go a long way in addressing issues of High Maternal Mortality, Child and Neonatal Mortalities.

“I am impressed to note that the resolutions agreed upon by the various constituencies during the parallel session yesterday are well aligned and very supportive to resolving the challenges that the Ministry highlighted in the 2022-2026 National Health Strategic Plan. The resolution by the Parliamentary group to dedicate a component of the CDF resources for procurement of ambulances and construction of maternity wings will go a long way in addressing issues of High Maternal Mortality, Child and Neonatal Mortalities including inadequate infrastructure and medical equipment. I also note that the resolution of our cooperating partners hinge on coordination and strengthening the financial management systems. This will help us to do more with the resources entrusted in our hands,” Ms. Masebo said.

“The private sector came out strongly on the need to participate in the pharmaceutical industry and on the need to partner with international companies in the supply of medicines and medical equipment. This will help the Ministry provide pharmaceutical supplies at more cost effective prices. The Civil Society Organizations pledged to strengthen advocacy on health matters in several areas. This is very helpful to the health sector. We also would like to appeal to the Civil Society to help us in sensitizing the communities on issues that border on lifestyle and nutrition as this is the cause for the increase in non-communicable diseases. I also believe, ladies and gentlemen, that it is time that the Civil Society Organizations moved beyond their traditional realm of advocacy. I encourage you to explore the concept of Result Based Financing. This concept provides a platform where you could partner with the Government to provide certain services,” she continued.

Ms. Masebo highlighted the need for additional domestic financing from diverse sources if Zambia is to make progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“I note that the key consensus across the thematic areas is that better health outcomes cannot be achieved with limited resources for health; we need additional domestic financing from diverse sources if Zambia is to make progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC); and that all resources we get need to be spent on mutually identified priorities.The Government through the Ministry of Health is committed to improve the health financing situation in order to improve health outcomes for all. I would therefore like to request My Fellow Honourable Minister and Members of Parliament to join me in this quest. I would also like to request our Cooperating Partners, Civil Society, the Private Sector, members of the media, Line Ministries, the academia and everyone else to continue supporting our health financing system as we can only achieve what we have set out through a multisectoral approach and not in isolation,” she stated.

Ms. Masebo further recognized the contributions that various Cooperating Partners and the Private Sector have continued to render to the Health Sector.

“As I conclude, allow me to acknowledge the contributions that various Cooperating Partners and the Private Sector have continued to render to the Health Sector. The Civil Society and Parliamentarians, you have also provided us with checks and balances as we provide health services. This indeed is cardinal if we are to offer quality health services. Academia has also been instrumental in ensuring that we make evidence-based decisions as we provide this noble cause through your research that has been very beneficial to the Health,” she concluded.

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