Editor's Comment

Support donor support

AT A time when the buzz about corruption is so toxic and given the recent events in the Ministry of Health, the decision by donors to continue with the support should not be taken for granted.
The cooperating partners’ commitment of US$ 2,067, 787, 551 is testimony that they are satisfied with efforts Zambia is making to not only improve the health sector but to also ensure that the support reaches the intended people across this vast country.
The gesture to commit to helping the health sector comes hardly a week after the annual consultative meeting attended by ambassadors, high commissioners, heads of bilateral and multilateral development cooperation, the United Nations, civil society and the private sector.
Committing colossal sums of money by the cooperating partners is an endorsement of Government’s tough stance against corruption backed by practical steps being taking action against those that may impede progress.
It is a demonstration that donors are not easily swayed by social media and headlines in some sections of private media which always paint Government black.
Rather, the donors appreciate the important role the health sector plays in the country. Donors also take note of strides Government has been making in ridding the sector of corruption.
It is also an endorsement of the proposed restructuring programme at the Ministry of Health designed to attain efficiency in health delivery.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Government is burdened in delivering healthcare to its citizens.
Little wonder the health sector is one of the sectors prioritised by Government in terms of budgetary support and policy measures to actualise the legacy goals.
Legacy goals are aimed at reducing maternal and under five mortality cases in all parts of the country.
Government is actualising the legacy goals through investment in infrastructure, human resource, strong information systems and the supply chain.
The support of the donors is therefore, critical towards ensuring that millions of Zambians continue accessing the much needed healthcare.
Zambians, on the other hand, should reciprocate donor support by accounting for every Ngwee. In fact, it is not only the resources from the donors that must be accounted for. Zambia’s own resources must also be accounted for just as seriously as those from cooperating partners.
Lending a helping hand does not mean donors have no needs in their respective countries. To the contrary, they have so much on their hands.
It is not a secret that Europe and the United States of America are reeling from the effects of COVID-19.
Most of the big economies in Europe, including the USA, are on lockdown, yet they have spared some resources to help other countries in need.
The money is from their tax payers, who surely would want it well accounted for.
That is why care should be taken in the application of donor funds so that it achieves the desired outcomes.
Reports about misapplication of funds should be a thing of the past. That is key in restoring not only donor confidence but that of the general public as well.
Zambians, just like donors, want the resources to be put in the right hands and, more importantly, to see the benefits. Zambia needs a healthy population for it to make economic progress.
The health sector is growing by leaps and bounds as evidenced by the many health centres of varying levels being opened countrywide. This is backed by the installation of modern equipment and recruitment of staff.
With so much money going into the sector, there is a constant threat of some of these resources being misapplied or misappropriated.
This should not be allowed to happen. All those that care for each other must be the ears and eyes of their communities and raise the red flag immediately something fishy surfaces.
The best way in which to thank the cooperating partners is to ensure that the money is well and appropriately spent.
We should be talking about the happy stories of patients recovering and not of cover-ups. Transparency and integrity must prevail.

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