Stronger healthcare systems in place – President President Mnangagwa addresses the UN High Level meeting on Universal Health Coverage in New York, yesterday. - Picture: Presidential Photographer Joseph Nyadzayo.

Hatred Zenenga in NEW YORK, US

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said following the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, Zimbabwe has made strides in building back stronger and more resilient healthcare systems that are able to identify and contain public health emergencies. 

The President was speaking here on Wednesday during a high-level meeting on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response attended by delegates from various countries at the ongoing 78th United Nations General Assembly.

He said the toll of HIV and Covid-19 pandemics continues to result in loss of human life, disruption to households and livelihoods while impacting negatively on economies and development. 

But Zimbabwe has put in place measures to ensure that present and future pandemics would be identified and contained.

“Our country is further strengthening infection prevention and control practices and integrating the interventions into emergency prevention, preparedness and response,” said President Mnangagwa. 

“We have also promoted the local manufacturing of health-related commodities and consumables. A major development for Zimbabwe was the establishment of our own local oxygen gas manufacturing plant.”

Verify Engineering, which is based in Mutare, is now Zimbabwe’s largest industrial gas producer that is able to meet local and regional demand. 

The facility serves customers in the healthcare sector, petro-chemical refining, manufacturing, food, beverage, steel making, mining, aquaculture, animal husbandry, aerospace, chemicals, metal fabrication and water treatment industries.

Verify Engineering produces a lot of the gas to the extent that it has ventured into the export market, and is supply to Mozambique. 

President Mnangagwa said through the Whole-of-Government, whole-of-society, multi-stakeholder and multi-sectorial approach, Zimbabwe is on track to achieving the HIV 95-95-95 targets. 

He said globally, there was need for collaborative surveillance and access to counter-measures and emergency coordination between and among countries. 

“Zimbabwe continues to work with regional and global partners in public health emergencies and the implementation of International Health Regulations-2005, to limit the spread of health risks. 

“Your Excellences, I urge us to make bold decisions that respond to present realities, including the development of the Pandemic Treaty, drawing lessons learnt during the pandemics, faced so far. 

“Issues of the equitable distribution of resources to ensure equity in technologies like vaccines, personal protective equipment, information, expertise and access to health care for all people during pandemics need our honest consideration. 

“There is clearly a need for stronger action, governance, financing and health systems to protect the world from future pandemics. As Zimbabwe, my Government has deliberately continued to increase budgetary allocations to health service delivery,” said the President. 

He also implored delegates representing various countries to remain alive to the importance of robust monitoring mechanisms for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response for breaking the recurring cycle of pandemic panic and                                                             neglect. 

In the 2023 National Budget, the Government has set aside 11 percent of total expenditures towards the health sector, with the objective being to eventually meet the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent.

All this is being done to ensure quality healthcare for citizens.

Through devolution funds, the Government is also constructing and equipping clinics at the lowest level to ensure communities have access to primary healthcare.

President Mnangagwa has declared that in the rural areas, people should not walk for more than 5km to access the nearest healthcare facility, hence the deliberate investment in clinics across the country.

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