THE Zimbabwe Emergency Medical Society has been launched to ensure that all Zimbabweans are guaranteed of quality emergency health.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
In an interview, the society’s interim chairperson Dr Sithembile Mthombeni said the organisation represents not only health workers but anyone interested in emergency health.
“This is Zimbabwe Emergency Medicine Society which is an integrated society representing all health workers and interested stakeholders who are willing and aspiring that we get quality emergency care for all people in all places in Zimbabwe,” she said.
She explained the launch was an outcome of work which started two years as a chat forum of locals and diaspora health workers.
Last year, the organisation had a highly attended stakeholders’ meeting.
“So it took us another 12 months including coming up with a constitution, identifying members to lead us of which I am the current interim chair of the society. And then today the 20 th of august we have launched the society,” she said.
She further explained that they are, “an affiliate organisation to the Zimbabwe Medical Association which is the mother body governing and I can say monitoring the activities of all medical doctors in the country. So we are specifically focusing on emergency care. Our society is for all health workers that is the doctors, the nurses, radiographers, physiotherapists, pharmacists any other stakeholders who would like to partner with us and help us. For example Wayon solar partnered with us by sponsoring the last year event, they have come again this year so we could do this launch.”
On Friday they will be having more presentations alongside the Zima symposium.
To achieve quality emergency care in Zimbabwe, ZEMS intends to ensure that emergency care be a recognized specialty of which it is not.
“Why we want this to happen is that emergency medicine is the only specialty which is general in approach than all other specialties. It is needed anytime, anywhere and by anywhere because emergencies happen, accidents happen, people fall sick, asthma attacks happen,” she said.
She also said they want to promote alignment of emergency care with medical school curricula something not yet here in Zimbabwe. The society also wants to broaden its network across the globe.
“We also want to make sure that we partner with international societies and communities of which at the moment we have partnered with the African Federation of Emergency medicine, emergency medicine society of south Africa, college medicine of south Africa, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, Stanford University. All have come onboard to assist us. So we shall make sure that the networking agenda goes on to promote emergency medical care in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mthombeni.
Dr Mthombeni also said there is need for a national policy on emergency care in Zimbabwe.
“Of course we are looking for funding which we are planning to have fundraising activities, approaching organisations. All in all we want to make sure that this is done in form of a national policy. So we consider ourselves a big and strategic partner for the Ministry of Health to come up with a national policy on emergency,” she said.
Dr Monalisa Muchatuta, an emergency medicine specialist from Stanford University in USA said Zimbabwe is yet to recognize emergency medicine as a specialty.
“Emergency Medicine in Zimbabwe is not even actually a specialty in Zimbabwe yet. We have people that do practice emergency care but they have not been trained in Zimbabwe as a specialty yet because it has not been recognized in Zimbabwe,” she noted.
To Dr Muchatuta, emergency medicine is a fairly new global trend which Zimbabwe should not miss out and have its medical professionals trained.
“In defense of the country though, emergency medicine is a young specialty. Even in the united states now it’s only 50 years old. This year is the 50th anniversary. In the UK its about 15 years. So there is a big trend in African countries to get emergency medicine which is why Zimbabwe should get on board as well,” she added.
She gave the reason why Zimbabwe should not be left out of this emerging trend in global health.
“The importance of African countries like Zimbabwe to be trained in emergency medicine is that when anybody can show up to the emergency room, the richest, and the poorest. You can be unconscious and present yourself at the emergency room.
“So we want to make sure that the people at the door waiting for you are people that are trained. And also the emergency room is the entry way to the hospital. So when you invite people in your home you show them the best room first and it gives them the idea of what the rest of the house looks like.
“You can imagine what the lounge looks like, you can imagine what the bedroom looks like. If our casualty departments and our emergency rooms are in disarray and they are manned by untrained physicians it doesn’t give hope in our population that the rest of their healthcare is going to be a good one. That’s what we want to help build,” said Dr Muchatuta.