Medical Journal of Zambia

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Health Financing: Relationship between Public Health expenditure and maternal mortality in Zimbabwe between the years 1980 to 2010

Wellington Manyika, Laston Gonah, Apivat Hanvongse, Shepherd Shamu, James January


Health care expenditure in Zimbabwe has fallen below budgetary allocations since 2000. Health care financing in Zimbabwe rely more on donor funding and private expenditure than on government resources. These expenditures are unsustainable and inadequate considering the huge health care burden in Zimbabwe. The study sought to examine the association between government health expenditure and maternal mortality, and make policy recommendations. Association was examined using survey and annual expenditure data from Zimbabwe between 1980 and 2011. The study used multiple regression analysis to find the association between government health expenditure and maternal mortality while controlling for potential confounding variables. Government health expenditure had a statistically significant association with maternal mortality, with less expenditure associated with high rates of maternal mortality. This substantiates the proposition that government health expenditure is a major determinant of maternal mortality in Zimbabwe. Increasing government health expenditure will contribute to significant reduction in maternal mortality. Institutional delivery and the proportion of people living below the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) were negatively correlated with maternal mortality. The association of maternal mortality and other socio-economic determinants of health were examined. These included political and economic factors, isolationism, hyper-inflation, household income versus household expenditure and allocation of resources.

Keywords: Maternal mortality, health expenditure, government, Zimbabwe

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