By Kudakwashe Pembere
The much-awaited upgrade of the Public Health Bill took a long time drafting for its delicateness which required rigorous evaluations, a Cabinet official has said.
Addressing senators today, Health and Childcare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said they have been working tirelessly to draft the bill last updated in 1924.
“The Public Health Bill is important. The Public Health Bill. The last act of the Public Health Act was in 1924. So we have been working flat out to make sure that it is up to date in terms of relevance to the situations that are here now.
“Particularly if you look at the new conditions, the new diseases, the new types of management that is needed. The decentralization process that we have done in our institutions,” he said.
He stressed while holding it up for senators to see that the delay of the Public Health Bill was on the back of substantial consultations and in-depth assessment of legalities related to it.
“The public health bill that will be coming in parliament, in fact I don’t know whether if you saw me bringing it, it’s already here (Lifting it up). It took long because it really had heavy consultations. And besides that, they went to the Attorney General’s office where it took some time for the legal people to make sure that the public health bill becomes an act,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa further explained that the lengthy period it took the AG’s office scrutinizing the draft bill was to ensure it does not conflict with others.
“…that it does not impinge on other laws. And then it becomes a tussle.
“And it’s a big document so it had to be very thorough, very detailed. It took longer than most bills take. Some bills take shorter time, this one took a long time because one consultations, two the legalities because the Public Health Act will supersede a lot of other acts,” he said.
Giivng a hypothesis of a clean-up operation of Beitbridge city, the minister illustrated how the bill would be used thus bypassing other acts. Thus he justified why it took so long.
“For example, let’s say cleaning up the whole of Beitbridge act, I can involve the Public Health Act. The Beitbridge City Council should clean up the city by force if you see what I mean because I have invoked that particular act. And that sort of invocation impinges on other areas of governance. So, it has to be very very thorough that’s why it took (long),” explained Dr Paritrenyatwa.
He also said PHB returned from the AG;s office last week as it awaits Cabinet approval next Tuesday.
“Im glad that on the 14 th of June it came back from the Attorney General’s office. So I hear now its going to Cabinet next Tuesday,” noted the Minister.