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Transparency International Zimbabwe Bemoans Corruption In The Health Sector.

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By Lloyd Takawira

Local corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI-Z) has bemoaned corruption in the country’s healthcare sector which is contributing to poor service delivery in public health care institutions.

In its report, “Illicit financing in the health sector in Zimbabwe” which was launched in the capital yesterday, TIZ said due to illicit financial flows within the public healthcare sector millions worth of money is lost.

“Despite nearly universal recognition of the critical importance of an effective and equitable healthcare system, the sector faces both longstanding and new challenges that impact the quality of and access to health services and programs. The sector is plagued by chronic underfunding of health priorities, a problem which is exacerbated by the evolving currency crisis,” reads part of the report.
The report further said that many of the challenges in the health sector are as a result of misappropriation of funds.

“Many of the challenges facing the health sector are worsened by the misappropriation of public funds for private gain in the form of illicit finance. Illicit economic activities contribute to the loss of wealth for the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) and citizens, depleting resources that could otherwise be invested in the public health system for healthcare worker salaries, procurement of medical supplies, and the rehabilitation and development of health infrastructure. “

In its recommendations TIZ urged government to remunerate health care workers well and avoid the siphoning of resources. 

“Eighty-one percent of the respondents in the research agreed that they had witnessed, experienced or heard of corruption occurring in the public health sector. As a result of the low wages and poor working conditions, public health workers have resorted to moonlighting, absenteeism, illegal referrals and bribery,” the report read.

The corruption watchdog added that a commission of inquiry that will assess risk posed by illicit financial flows in the health sector be established.

“The Health and Child Care ministry and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission should commission a comprehensive corruption assessment that analyses the perception of risks and vulnerabilities within the health sector,” the watchdog stated.

Aided by the novel coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic,  the health sector in many countries has been marred by corruption. 

This week , Malawian President Dr Lazarus Chakwera  earned praise from many quoters over his  stance to fire his  Minister of labour Ken Kandodo and ordering the arrests 14 Officials implicated in corruption COVID-19 Funds.

However for Zimbabwe despite overwhelming evidence of embezzlement of funds , authorities have largely been protective of the alleged embezzlers.

Graft has become rife in the country’s health sector with allegations levelled against government officials. In July 2020 the then Health Minister Dr. Obadiah Moyo was fired over his alleged involvement in the US$60 million COVID-19 DraxGate scandal which roped in the First family. While Moyo and Drax International’s Delish Nguwaya were arrested, they were both released on bail soon after, in a phenomenon Zimbabweans have come to refer to as “Catch and Release”.

According to TI-Z , Zimbabwe last year scored 24% in the corruption perception index  and was ranked 157 out of 180 countries in terms of fighting corruption.

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