Fungi Kwaramba in Gweru
More funding will flow into public medical and health facilities as part of the modernising and equipping of hospitals, clinics and laboratories to create a contemporary and well-resourced health system, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
Opening the Midlands State University National Pathology Research and Diagnostic Centre in Gweru yesterday, a major testing and research centre that allows a lot of work that had up to now been done outside the country to be carried out locally, President Mnangagwa said this extra financing and modernising would attract Zimbabwean scientists based abroad to return home as well as allow training and research opportunities in Zimbabwe to boost the pool of qualified specialists.
These in turn would help in rebuilding the country towards Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle income economy.
Apart from that, the country stands to benefit from modern health facilities in the tourism sector, especially in resort towns like Victoria Falls where wealthy tourists often raise the absence of state-of-the-art hospitals.
It would also help make Zimbabwe a medical tourism hub.
The President, who is also the Chancellor of all State universities, said his Government was always available to provide funding to universities and colleges implementing the Education 5.0 model.
The model is based on practice, seeking to, among other things, create employers, innovators and scientists as opposed to the previous model that was employment oriented.
Proving his commitment to improving the health sector, it took less than nine months to construct the pathology centre, which was wholly funded by Government, as the President vowed to ensure that Zimbabweans, regardless of status will turn to local facilities when they need medical care.
The facility, a first of its kind in the country, comes packed with equipment for the detection of cancer antigens, a process previously done in South Africa and thus its establishment will save millions of dollars as well as attract foreign medical tourists.
The facility also offers training in pathological disciplines and helps increase the number of pathologists in the country who have been in shortage for some time now.
Apart from that, the facility has CAT and Ultrasound Scans, MRI and some equipment is currently on the high seas headed for Zimbabwe.
This, President Mnangagwa said, positions Zimbabwe as a quality health service provider, not only to Zimbabweans, but also to the region at large.
“The National Pathology Research and Diagnostic Centre being opened today is part of the Second Republic’s efforts to scale up the provision of quality health services for our citizens and realise universal health coverage,” he said.
“This centre further highlights my administration’s determination to address the shortage of local pathologists by creating such specialist training programmes.”
Last November, President Mnangagwa laid a foundation stone for the first-of-its-kind laboratory, itself a reflection of the success of the heritage-based Education 5.0 model that addresses the needs of the people through providing practical solutions.
The model has been given life and form by President Mnangagwa through the creation of industrial parks and innovative hubs which are coming with transformative inventions and solutions beneficial to the country as a whole.
“The new centre is set to increase access to pathology and diagnostic services to a cross-section of people here in the Midlands and indeed throughout the country,” he said.
“I, therefore, challenge the university and its stakeholders to make concerted plans to grow this facility to become a regional centre of excellence. To this end, the appropriate leadership, mentorship, training, examination and accreditation must be pursued towards the churning out of clinicians who meet world class standards.”
The centre is envisaged to drive the local manufacturing of laboratory reagents and point of care devices.
“In view of the present and future disease threats, I exhort the university to move swiftly to develop and grow high-end capabilities for disease surveillance, control and prevention,” said President Mnangagwa.
In line with National Development Strategy 1, the country’s economic development guiding compass, the President urged the private sector to also invest in the health sector in the tailoring of home-grown solutions to any challenges that the nation could be facing, present or future”.
After touring the centre, President Mnangagwa expressed his satisfaction with the number of female scientists who occupy the front seat in the medical facility, saying his administration will avail resources for talented Zimbabweans to flourish and realise their dreams.
“Under the Second Republic, universities and other institutions of higher learning are indeed actualising teachings, research, community engagement, innovation and industrialisation as articulated in the Education 5.0 philosophy,” he said.
“Furthermore, the equipping and construction of other infrastructure such as student hostels and libraries, among other facilities, are being accelerated.”
Universities such as MSU should provide appropriate and holistic complementary services to develop competent pathology practitioners who are able to manage complex laboratory functions.
The medical centre should ride on his foreign policy of re-engagement and engagement to form synergies with other scientists outside Zimbabwe.
“It is encouraging that pathologists at this centre will establish research in partnership with other medical institutions from across the world,” said President Mnangagwa. “Leveraging on the successes of the engagement and re-engagement policy, partnerships in disciplines such as bio-medical engineering; bio-pharmaceuticals, medical bio-technology and vaccinology must enhance our national competencies in these fields.
“As you do so, I challenge the university to foster ‘out of the box’ research and innovation, based on our rich natural resources and cultural heritage.”
President Mnangagwa was accompanied by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira, Minister of State for Midlands Province Larry Mavima and senior Government officials.
Zimbabweans, despite the bane of sanctions, have been raising the country’s flag across the globe with scientists from the country making breakthroughs and discoveries that have helped in the fight against diseases like Covid-19, and also the discovery of vaccines.
With such facilities, the President said skilled Zimbabweans can now come back home and help build the country.