Stakeholders in the health accountability monitoring sector have argued that multiple public health accountability issues in Zimbabwe are drawing back progress in the development of the sector during an engagement titled Covid 19 Transparency Accountability Project (CTAP), organised by local content creation hub, Magamba network, in partnership with a Nigerian based organisation Connected Development.
Access to information was viewed as a key challenge for CSOs, media and citizens in the quest to verify the accountability practice’s by public health departments in utilisation of health funds.
“Accessing information through legal institutions is not sustainable. Is is generally tedious and exhaustive process as data takes time to be released. Data shared is usually incomplete and has grey areas which inturn affects efforts in ensuring transparency and accountability.” Nqobani Tshabangu, the Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) Programs Officer said.
Stakeholder intervention was viewed as lagging and imperative in the quest to hold public health office bearer’s accountable on use of health funds.
“Stakeholder intervention is key in the fight against public health corruption. CSO’S, media and the general citizens need to take a lead in following the money trail of public health funds to urge for more accountable practice’s.” Eustinah Tarisayi the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development Senior Programs Officer said.
Collaboration was viewed as a potential cog in the upscaling of issues and knowledge pertaining to public health accountability.
“CSO’s and the media should collaborate with communities so as to see that accurate information is shared from which authorities can be questioned by the citizens who do not have information. We need to go down to the grassroots and avail this information.” Connected Development Communications Officer, Seun Durojaiye said.
Condoning anomalies was also sighted as a major drawback to availing universal health coverage for the citizens and more accountable practice within the sector.
“We tend to condone malpractice as highlighted in Mbuya Gwena’s experience were media and civil society celebrated her midwifery exploits in mbare under unprofessional and unsterilised equipment when we need to push proper service delivery in the medical sector as it remains a human right.” Combined Harare Residents Association Programs Coordinator, Reuben Akilli said.
Stakeholders recommended a cocktail of shifts which included, establishment of a e procurement system, institutional redesign, policy redress, comprehensive resource audit among other mechanisms to address the accountability challenges faced in the health sector.