The right to health is guaranteed under section 76 of the national constitution of Zimbabwe. Yet, this right is not fully enjoyed by people living with disabilities (PWDs). According to Mr Dzveta, from Tariro Trust, an organization that advocates for the rights of PWDs in Mutare, people with disabilities are looking forward to a 2021 budget that fulfills the Abuja Declaration through increased funding for health.
Zimbabwe’s health delivery system, like many others on the continent, faces a lot of technical difficulties. Access to quality health services has been severely hampered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Since the outbreak struck in March 2020, local health institutions, such as clinics and hospitals, were forced to offer very limited services to patients.
Under such circumstances, people with disabilities were negatively affected and the situation hasn’t changed very much. In fact, local clinics, run by the city of Mutare, are now demanding payments as high as $USD25 for maternity fees. This has heightened the fears of pregnant women and poor families. Therefore, the government must prioritize health in its budget for 2021.
Accordingly, PWDs request that the government reintroduces the old system of “assisted medical treatment order” accessible by all PWDs. They also demand that hospitals must be well equipped and staffed to effectively deliver the right to health. Drugs and essential medicines should be made available at no cost for PWDs, they say.