Zimbabwe workers force health spending up

Issue 

Zimbabwe workers force health spending up

By Norm Dixon

The Zimbabwean government bowed to public pressure on November 17 and agreed to raise per capita health spending by more than 100%. State medical staff pay will be boosted by 50%. Health minister Timothy Stamps did not say when the increases will come into effect.

The announcement follows a seven-week strike by doctors over poor working conditions, pay and the state of the health system. Health workers complained of insufficient drugs and equipment. State nurses went on strike over similar issues after the doctors returned to work.

Zimbabwe's per capita spending on health declined from Z$874 in 1997 to Z$342 in 1998. The government has spent (and continues to spend) billions on its involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.