Joseph Madzimure and Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
ACCESS to affordable primary health care is key to ensuring a healthy nation that is critical to Government’s vision for the future.
This was said by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo in a speech read on his behalf by Health Services Board chairperson Dr Paulinus Sikhosana when he officiated at the 23rd Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA) annual conference here yesterday.
Dr Moyo said Government was committed to delivering efficient health services at community level, in line with the grand vision for universal health care being advocated for at continental level.
“As Government, we pledge to offer support to councils in the attainment of universal health coverage by providing an enabling and conducive environment in which individuals and communities are empowered and engaged in maintaining and enhancing their health and well-being,” said Dr Moyo.
He said Government will decentralise primary health care to the remotest communities for easy access by all.
Dr Moyo said to achieve this, there should be attractive incentives to newly qualified personnel as one of the ways of making the health sector competitive.
“This is important if we are to attract these personnel to work in our rural hospitals,” he said. “This conference aims to provide a platform where African and international medical regulators, policy makers and academics share ideas, experiences and learn from each other.”
Dr Moyo said despite remarkable progress in the provision of quality health care in the last decades, Africa continued to face a plethora of challenges as far as the health sector was concerned.
To this end, Dr Moyo said cooperation was key.
“No single state can address health challenges on their own, hence the amalgamated need to ensure a shared and coordinated approach through which medical regulatory authorities can exchange information and best practices on how to address these challenges, and devise mechanisms to uniformly compact issues of common concern for the benefit of all Africans,” he said.
Health experts drawn from health associations of medical councils of Africa and beyond are attending the conference which was organised by the Health Professions Authority and Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe.
It is being held under the theme “The role of the health regulator in the delivery of universal health coverage”.
Chairman of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council Dr Adolf Macheka said the main pillars of universal health care were availability, accessibility and affordability.
He called upon Government to remove the recruitment freeze on health workers, saying political will was needed for better health service in the country.
“A lot of African countries, including Zimbabwe, are working towards the establishment of such a system where you find human capital resources available at all healthcare centres,” said Dr Moyo.
AMCOA president Kgosi Letlape said the conference was aimed at activating member countries to come up with protocols that ensure equitable access to health service by all citizens regardless of social or political status.
He said countries should strive to minimise the number of citizens who sought healthcare in other countries by providing enough and affordable health services.
“We have a collective responsibility as countries and this is about vigilance, integrity across borders,” said Mr Letlape. “Without creating solidarity, we won’t be able to contain health risks. Countries should come up with legislated mechanisms on how to deal with litigation, which is becoming costly.”