Vice President shares progress report Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga (centre) chats with Egypt’s presidential adviser for health affairs Dr Mohamed Awad Tag Eddin (left) and Egypt Drug Authority Chairman Professor Tamer Essam (right) after a panel of discussion in Cairo, yesterday.

Mukudzei Chingwere in CAIRO, Egypt

Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga has shared Zimbabwe’s progress report with other AFrican health ministers detailing steps that Government has made and its plans in health sector development that has won international praise.

VP Chiwenga was delivering his contributory note at the ongoing Africa Health ExCon, a framework under which those in the medical business converge to converse on how best to build resilient health systems for Africa.

His attendence has been punctuated by a number of meetings with healthcare leaders and key economic leaders, the busy work ethic that typifies the Second Republic which is is journeying towards improving people’s lives.

VP Chiwenga’s contribution at ExCon comes at a time when the international community has shown eagerness to learn from the Zimbabwe example which has seen the country successfully harnessing its local resources to mount a commendable Covid-19 response while at the same time forging ahead with the rest of its national health targets.

At the centre of its plan, Zimbabwe, wants to attain universal health coverage of sufficient quality for the benefit of its people as envisioned by President Mnangagwa. Buoyed by lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic which ravaged the medical supply chain as well as saw some suppliers holding on to key consumables and paraphernalia, VP Chiwenga told African ministers how Zimbabwe was moving towards manufacturing more medical supplies.

He also underlined the importance of these supplies and consumables and the need for rigorous quality controls in a bid to ensure quality to its people as well as for the eventual venturing into the medical supplies export market.

“The Government took deliberate steps to review the regulatory framework to ensure standardisation. The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe has been playing a leading role in ensuring access to good quality, safe and effective medicines, and medical devices to the Zimbabwean population,” said VP Chiwenga. 

“As the Minister of Health and Child Care, one of the key objectives of my Ministry is to improve access to essential medicines and health technologies, as well as strengthening the pharmaceutical supply chain management system.

“Our focus is on increasing local production of essential medicines, and enhance regulatory oversight of medical products. We must produce and regulate our medicines. Medicines must be affordable and available to our populations, particularly those in need,” he said. 

VP Chiwenga told fellow participants and discussants of the important role and assistance the country has received and continues to get from international bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This comes as President Mnangagwa has affirmed the Second Republic’s full participation and collaboration with all international organisations to which the country is a signatory.

“The World Health Organisation Headquarters and the World Health Organisation regional office for Africa conducted several activities in strengthening national regulatory systems in our SADC region since 1999, with a series of benchmarking visits to countries’ national regulatory authorities,” he said.

“There were also a series of workshops organized to guide countries to develop their regulatory systems. The first National Regulatory Authority Institutional Development Plan follow-up visit to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (was conducted by a team of WHO experts.

“As a part of IDP implementation, a training event was conducted by the WHO to strengthen the national organisation safety surveillance programme. These visits and workshops thereto culminated in Zimbabwe being granted the WHO prequalification.

“The MCAZ lab benefited from expert assistance from the WHO, including guidance and training to raise its performance to the level of international standards, thus making the lab eligible for prequalification,” he said.

Earlier on, he made a huge impression on giant Egyptian fertiliser manufacturing company Abu Zaabal Fertilizer and Chemical Company, which is now set to send a high-powered delegation to Zimbabwe to thrash out modalities of setting up in Zimbabwe.

Managing director of the fertiliser manufacturing concern, Engineer Mostafa Gabaly, told journalists that Zimbabwe has of late – particularly since the coming on board of the Second Republic – opened up and is laden with compelling opportunities which could not be ignored.

The firm also had interests in renewable energy and with Zimbabwe partaking in the green energy revolution, there is a lot that the Egyptian concern could invest in.

“We discussed (with VP Chiwenga) several investment opportunities. . . cooperation opportunities between Egypt and Zimbabwe mainly in the field of agriculture, of fertiliser production and of renewable energy,” said Eng Gabaly.

“We know that Zimbabwe has a lot of good opportunities in the sector of fertiliser manufacturing. We are exploring all the opportunities and we agreed we will have a visit to Zimbabwe soon, maybe later this month or next month to meet the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency and IFC (International Finance Corporation) to discuss available opportunities.

“Egypt has had a very good success story in the past eight years in developing solar power. So, we discussed opportunities in developing such projects in Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe has a very interesting and attractive opportunities in different fields. With ZIDA now being there, with the new Government, I think that there are a lot attractive opportunities.

“Agriculture is big in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe needs fertiliser, I think there is a lot of synergies between Egypt and Zimbabwe,” said Eng Gabaly.

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