By Michael Gwarisa
THE World Health Organisation (WHO) says the continued delay in finalizing the Public Health Bill was an embarrassment for Zimbabwe as it exposes lack of will by the executive to turnaround fortunes of the health sector.
Speaking on the sidelines of the UHC2030 Civil Society engagement workshop, WHO’s Dr Stanely Midzi bemoned the delay and called on government to speed up the Public health Bill’s promulgation before the current parliament’s term lapses as this might further delay the process.
“The new public health document is a brilliant Act, something needs to be done to ensure it is passed and moved from wherever it is. Very soon, the new parliament that might come through after next year’s elections might not be able handle this document.
“Surely, for us to continue referring to a 1924 document is an embarrassment for Zimbabwe,” said Dr Midzi.
The current Public Health Act Zimbabwe is operating under has been in existence since 1924 and fails to address new health challenges which include Non Communicable diseases, water and sanitation issues among others.
Glenview North legislator Honorable Fanuel Munengami however assured delegates at the UHC2030 meeting that the current Parliament would ensure the Act would be promulgated before the end of the current Parliament’s terms ends.
“On the issue of the Public Health Bill, we still don’t know where it is right now but i can assure that we have prioritised the issue of the Public Health Act and we will ensure it is promulgated before our term comes to an end.
“We are going to summon the minister to the Parliamentary portfolio committee on health so that he tells us the current position of the bill,” said Munengami.
Meanwhile, Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Executive Director said delaying the public health bill promulgation was not just an embarrassment but a direct insult to President Robert by the ministry.
“The process of reviewing this bill was led by the former minister Madzorera during the government of national unity. If there are technical issues delaying this bill then the technical issues have taken too long. I think its also disrespecting his excellency the President of Zimbabwe because when he opened the last two sessions of Parliament, he specifically made reference to the Public Health Act as one of the bills to be brought to Parliament.
“What it means is that someone is failing in terms of meeting the assignment that they would have been given by his excellency the President who said the bill was a priority. We will continue pushing for the speedy promulgation of the Act as civic society,” said Rusike.