Zambia launches Household Health Expenditure and Utilization Survey Report.
ZAMBIA’S health challenges are reported to culminate from social determinants of health than the usual attribution to Communicable diseases.
In response to this reality, the Zambian government through the Ministry of Health working with the Central Statistical Office and the University of Zambia with support from the Department for International Development and other cooperating partners undertook the Zambia Household Health Expenditure and Utilization Survey (ZHHEUS) in order to estimate the household health expenditure and utilization levels in the country.
Officiating at the launch, Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya assured the nation government is addressing the challenges highlighted in the report and has since pledged to address the status quo by adding the revealed evidence to planning and policy.
Dr. Chilufya responded to the human resource challenge noted in the report that government is up to the task and will recruit 7,400 health workers in 2017 of which over 5,000 have already been given provisional letters pending finalization of payrolls slated for January 2017.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.
“These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels” WHO reports “The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries”
Health seeking behavior is one other key facet in answering the question of what majority of people do in the country when faced with ill health.
The report revealed that about 38.3 percent of the population of 15 million Zambians do not report illnesses and only about 21.3 percent do report illnesses.
This is mainly due to factors like cost of health service, distance to facility, religious reasons and perceived poor quality of health care services. Self-medication and perceptions are also reported to be high.
The Analyst from the University of Zambia, Department of Economics, Bona Chitah said that it is surprising to find that households do not seek medical interventions despite them realizing ill health.
“There is a tendency of not seeking medical intervention” said Mr Chitah “Households are spending a large amount of money on health care”
He adds that one of the key findings of the survey is that utilization rate of health facilities is relatively low. The public health system is by far the largest due to affordability concerns. “(Government) should quickly move in to reduce the imbalances in terms of major expenses.