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“Scarcity and Misuse of Resources are Causing a Crisis in the Health Sector” – OCS

“Scarcity and Misuse of Resources are Causing a Crisis in the Health Sector” – OCS

The executive director of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Observatório do Cidadão para Saúde (OCS), Jorge Matine, said this Sunday, July 7, that the scarcity and misuse of resources are the causes of the chronic crisis in the country’s national health system.

“We are not investing in new health units or in recruiting staff and the sector is largely dependent on external funding, from the primary health service to the specialised one,” he said in an interview with Lusa.

The public health specialist said that Mozambique has still not managed to channel 15% of the state budget into health, in line with the commitment of the Abuja Declaration, which requires African countries to reach that budget allocation figure for the sector.

“The nominal budget is growing, but the real budget is not. It’s not realistic in terms of expenditure and needs,” emphasised the OCS executive director, pointing out that the country currently allocates 8.3% of its expenditure to health, which represents a decline, because it was once close to 13%, in real terms, after rising from 7.8%.

On the other hand, the area is struggling with a problem of inefficiency, which is the misuse of the scarce resources allocated. “We have a major challenge, which is to allocate adequate resources efficiently, and for this we need to look at a more structural reform,” emphasised Jorge Matine.

He stressed that there are circles working on health issues that have begun discussions on the introduction of compulsory health insurance to mitigate the problem of underfunding. He also stressed that health and education should be at the centre of redistributive policies aimed at channelling more money from the budget and economic growth into social areas.

Jorge Matine argued that Mozambique has “positive policies” in the field of health, but is struggling with poor implementation “of that architecture”, noting that the strong dependence on external funding also means that around 80 per cent of the health budget is allocated to running costs to the detriment of investment in new units and medical equipment.

The source argued that the paradigm shift in the sector must take into account that in addition to the traditional epidemic diseases that cyclically affect the country, such as malaria and cholera, there is a growth in “behavioural diseases”, such as cardiovascular diseases.

Over the last two years, the National Health System has faced several moments of pressure, caused by strikes by employees, called first by the Association of Mozambican Doctors, against salary cuts and lack of overtime pay, and then by the Association of United and Solidary Health Professionals of Mozambique (APSUSM), which covers around 65,000 health professionals from different departments and demands better working conditions.


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