Where is the Public Health Bill?

By HealthTimes Editor 

FOR more than 90 years, Zimbabwe has relied on a single Public Health ACT (PHA) which fails among other things to address the new challenges obtaining in the health sector.

Since 1924, new diseases  especially non communicable ailments like Cancer, have become a nightmare that Zimbabwe is failing to control due to lack of resources and the required technology in the health sector.

The old health law is silent on non communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, maternal health, key-populations risks amongts a host of others, making it difficult to combat a number of sexually transmitted epidemics.

According to a document on proposals and principles for the review, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare (MoHCW) requested the newly constituted PHAB to review the Public Health Act in April 2010.

The document presented 20 proposals for review which include the addition of a statement outlining a broad vision for public health, and the mission of the state and actors in the public health system.

It is however mind boggling that despite the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care having submitted the Public Health Bill to the Attorney General’s (AG) office early this year for approval, the document seem to be taking forever to proceed to the next level.

In February, Health Portfolio committee member Hon Prince Dubeko Sibanda assured journalists at a luncheon that was organised by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) that it would only take two weeks before the bill would be presented to Parliament but still, nothing has materialized.

Deputy Health and Childcare director Gibson Mhlanga made some rather disturbing revelations before parliament recently that shortage of staff at the AG’s office has delayed submission of the Public Health bill to parliament.

The big Question now is “Where is the Public Health Bill?”

Why is government so reluctant to speed up adoption of such a critical bill considering the numerous life changing benefits it could bring to the nation of Zimbabwe.

In some recent news, the ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira told a media cocktail that government would speed-up adoption of the Computer Crimes and Cyber Security Bill.

Where does our government’s priorities lie really, to whose benefit is the Cyber Bill?

Must we prioritize self interests and paranoia over the lives of millions of Zimbabwean lives the PHA would transform?

Our government should move from being talkers and become doers.









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