• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Holding of the high-level national dialogue on health financing


Feb 13, 2024

BUJUMBURA, February 13th (ABP) – The Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, Prosper Bazombanza, opened, on Monday February 12, 2024, in Bujumbura, the high-level dialogue on health financing.

In his speech, he indicated that Burundi, like other African countries and the sub-region, faces many challenges in providing adequate health care to the people. The latter are also heavily dependent on donor support.

Aware of this situation, African Heads of State, during their meeting held in 2019 in Addis Ababa, committed to improving domestic financing of health in Africa, by investing more in the health system, he said.

According to Bazombanza, the President of the Republic of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, has started a vast project in the health field, with a view to protecting the people of Burundi. In this regard, he mentioned the launch in particular of the campaign to build district hospitals, a measure which intervened to relieve the people who sometimes had to travel several kilometers in search for health care facilities.

To date, according to him, 74 district hospitals out of 116 have already been built, i.e., an achievement rate of 63.79%, he continued to say. He also emphasized that other life-saving initiatives to ensure that no one is left behind are being implemented. These include, among other things, the increase in national resources for the sustainable financing of health towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), free healthcare for children under 5 years old, pregnant women and those giving birth, as well as State retirees.

The same applies to free treatment in all public health facilities for conditions of concern, such as HIV, tuberculosis and first-line drugs for malaria. The Vice President of the Republic further noted that to clearly illustrate Burundi’s political commitment, a law enacted in May 2020 establishes a social protection system which covers the population against economic and social risks determined by the public authorities in accordance with international standards.

However, he added, despite these efforts, many challenges still persist, including the importance of direct payments for health by the people, difficulties in absorbing external and internal budgets, geographical inequalities and the weakness of social protection coverage.

                                                                        View of the participants

To overcome all these challenges, he reassured, the Government of Burundi has defined a series of strategic orientations inspired by the National Development Plan (PND) 2018-2027, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Vision Burundi, an ‘‘Emerging Country in 2040 and Developed Country in 2060” whose aim is to improve living conditions and well-being and reduce inequalities. Mr. Bazombanza believes that by focusing on primary health care strategies, the government can reduce the burden of disease and associated costs, freeing up resources that can result in increased service coverage, financial viability, efficiency and quality of care.

The government of Burundi pays well-deserved tribute to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the EAC Secretary Office, the African Union, AUDA – NEPAD and other partners in the health sector that supported and facilitated the organization of this High-Level Dialogue on Health Financing in Burundi.

For his part, the representative of the World Health Organization to Burundi and leader of the group of development partners, Dr. Xavier Crespin noted that health financing is an essential function of any health system. It must be designed through a solid, coherent, efficient, equitable and sustainable national financing strategy. This requires that the process be participatory, multi-sectoral and progressive.

According to him, increasing domestic resources for financing is crucial to progress towards UHC. However, it is not enough to have sufficient financing, it is also necessary to ensure that the allocated resources are used effectively and efficiently while ensuring contributory equity, in order to avoid impoverishing or catastrophic expenditure, he he clarified, while adding that investing in health is also essential to reduce poverty and encourage economic growth.

He deplored that a minority of countries have achieved the Abuja target of allocating 15% of government spenditure to health, and in many cases, external resources still constitute the majority of financing for health systems. For him, it is crucial that countries increase their national financing for health, in order to ensure the sustainability of programs, and improve the efficiency of health financing through the effective implementation of national health policies, with a view to achieving universal health coverage