By Sibongile Maruta
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa on Friday expressed optimism that the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA) congress held in Harare will come up with ideas on how to strengthen the medical profession.
Dr Parirenyatwa said this while officially opening the ZiMA congress.
“I would like to express my delight that the ZiMA congress’ organising committee decided to prioritise professionalism and training,” he said.
“This is a clear acknowledgement that these two areas are very important and can make or break our medical profession if not given the attention they deserve.
“Professionalism has many attributes that include, but are not limited to accountability, competency, specialised knowledge and quality integrity. ZiMA has been doing outreach programmes and providing free medical treatment in various areas and I hope you continue doing that.
“The congress programme looks very rich and it is promising to generate good discussions that can help us map a way forward in terms of strengthening how we do our work in a professional way and how we remain up to date through various innovative training approaches.
Dr Parirenyatwa said he was hopeful that the new political dispensation would revive the country’s fortunes.
“We have a new political dispensation, I am quite hopeful that it may be sustainable in terms of the vision to revive the country’s fortunes,” he said.
“We have about 36 000 people employed at the Ministry of Health and Child Care who are working very hard.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said cannabis use in Zimbabwe was introduced in a professional way although there was a knowledge gap within members of the medical profession.
“The issue of cannabis for medical use in Zimbabwe as it is outlined in the recently announced SI 62 of 2018 was introduced in a professional way,” he said.
“However, many members of the medical profession did not seem to realise this as there seemed to be some knowledge gap in the process. Cabinet decided to legalise production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes initially.
“It was acknowledged that there was still need for further scientific research.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said in Africa, only two countries – Lesotho and Zimbabwe – have published regulations for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis.
“Zimbabwe has approved for now, the medicinal use and may later develop the industrial hemp with the recreational use remaining illegal,” he said.
“In Africa, only two countries – Lesotho and Zimbabwe – have published regulations for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis.
“South Africa has issued guidelines for the cultivation of industrial hemp. Producer’s licences would be issued for pilots by Government entities in partnership with the private sector, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
“The SI62 does not cover industrial hemp, whose requirements for cultivation and security are much easier.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said Zimbabwe had the potential to provide low cost and high yield medicinal cannabis due to favourable climate and appropriate soils.
Dr Parirenyatwa applauded Steward Bank for launching a $100 million health fund, which is set facilitate the recapitalisation of commercial health care in the private sector.
“Steward Bank is going to support the private sector as indicated by the chief executive, Mr Lance Mambondiani, and I really want to congratulate them for that,” he said.
“It is a very good thing. We want a strong and an empowered private sector, although there is need to modernise our health sector both public and private sector.”