Quest to modernise healthcare gets boost VP Chiwenga

Mukudzei Chingwere in CAIRO, Egypt

Zimbabwe’s quest to modernise its healthcare as part of its broad national health systems transfiguration towards universal health coverage, is set for a major boost following the signing of a framework of cooperation with Egypt that will see Zimbabwe getting help in the specialty area of organ transplant.

The plans were revealed after Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, met Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, Professor Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, on the side-lines of the ongoing Africa Health ExCon.

The latest agreement follows an earlier Memorandum of Understanding signed last month between the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA), which will standardise medicinal approvals between the two friendly republics.

Organ transplant is a delicate medical procedure in which a failing, damaged or missing organ is removed from a human body and replaced by a well-functioning one from an organ donor.

As part of its drive towards universal health coverage of sufficient quality, consistent with an upper-middle income economy as envisioned by President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is targeting a full complement of all medical specialties in its hospitals.

Although Zimbabwe has already embraced organ transplant and is capable of performing various such procedures, gaps are inherent in that area and the cooperation with Egypt is expected to go a long way towards building capacity.

Under the framework, the two parties will also cooperate in all facets of health services with medical experts expected to collaborate in knowledge exchange and training.

With Zimbabwe keen to build its medical consumables capacity, an area in which Egypt has had considerable progress, Harare is also set to tap from the Egyptians’ success.

Said Prof Ghaffar: “We met today (yesterday) for a bilateral meeting and it was very important after his attendance for the opening session (of the Africa Health ExCon) with our President. “We discussed a lot of cooperation issues; one of them was exchange of experience in public health initiatives for communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases and we even went further to the extent of organ transplant so that we can share experiences in organ transplant.”

On his part, VP Chiwenga said there was a lot of benefit from African collaboration and Zimbabwe and Egypt will soon reap such benefits for their people.

“Under this cooperation, whatever they have done here we are able to share, to exchange our expertise,” said VP Chiwenga.

“They are going to be sending their medical professionals in the various fields to assist us in our hospitals, and equally we will be sending our own personnel here to be trained in the various areas.

“For instance, we were discussing the notorious hepatitis C, which has no symptoms but people die and the common thing they say people die from is liver cirrhosis. So, we discussed things which Egypt has advanced quite a lot in and have a lot of experience.

“Besides that, they are also manufacturing medical equipment, which is in demand in our country and as Africa, we must be able to cooperate among ourselves.”

Going forward, Prof Ghaffar said technical staff from the two republics have been directed to make sure they expedite the operationalisation of what has been agreed.

“We ask our teams from both sides to start communicating directly from now and report to (VP Chiwenga) and myself within the next few weeks.

“So, it was a very important meeting and having the Vice President visiting Egypt for the second edition of the Africa Health ExCon and Exhibition and we are delighted to see him more and we are happy to work together in the near future for the sake of our nations,” said Prof Ghaffar.

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