‘Zim moving e-Health in slow motion’

By Kuda Pembere

Zimbabwe is moving at tortoise speed when it comes to telemedicine and e-health development in the country, an expert in the field says.

Speaking to HealthTimes,  Cumii Connected Health Manager Dr Marlon Nyakabau said telemedicine in Zimbabwe was lagging behind compared to other countries.

“The evaluation is that we are behind. But we are beginning to take off. What the government is doing,  what Potraz has done to fund the pilot phase in Manicaland, that’s getting us toward the right direction  as well as NGOs coming in, international organisations, ITU, coming in to fund that telemedicine project.

“We are behind but we have begun.We need to get there.

“We just don’t want it to be in the public sector but what we want is to challenge the private sector that they can intervene. Sustainable business can be pursued in telemedicine,” he said.


He said Zimbabwean laws that govern e-Health or telemedicine stifle the growth of the sector in the country.

“The main one being the legislation point of view, that there is lack of legislation to guide, to catalyse the development of e-health or telemedicine. The policies that have been there, a few of them are of inhibitory nature.

“They kind of intimidate innovators.it just bans things because they don’t understand,” he said.

He added that apart from the repressive hand of government on e-health matters, there are several factors like infrastructure, adoption rate and electricity.

“The main thing is infrastructure. Telemedicine requires broadband. It requires high speed internet for communication that is good particularly in the rural areas where lack of strong internet connections slows things. then the issues of power, electricity based systems. So that limits us.

“Then the issue of culture, some people are not accustomed to being treated by a doctor via a video call. As well as some doctors who are not yet open to such methods of treatment where it’s not necessary to have physical contact with the patient,” said Nyakabau.


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