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Ministry of Health restructuring to facilitate local production of medicines

By Abigail Tembo, Health Editor

The Ministry of Health and Child Care is being restructured to facilitate the local production of medicines and ensure drug sufficiency through a division for bioengineering, biomedical sciences and biopharmaceutical engineering.

This was confirmed by Vice President General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga when he delivered a lecture on drug sufficiency, health tourism and integration of traditional and western health care systems at the Zimbabwe National Defence University this Wednesday.

In a presentation addressing contemporary issues in the healthcare sector in line with the health and well-being pillar of the National Development Strategy One, Vice President General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga delved into the collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry, Ministry of Health and Child Care, and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.

The Vice President’s presentation at the Zimbabwe National Defense University in Harare this Wednesday was hinged upon what is dubbed the Triple Helix meant to ensure the availability of drugs in the country.

“Special purpose vehicles have been established in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors to initiate joint ventures that will facilitate technology transfer, pharmaceutical production and manufacture of some medical devices.

“Examples include our current engagements with Intrapharma of the United Arab Emirates, BioCuba Farma of Cuba, Cambiomed of Cuba and Biofarma of Indonesia,” he said.

Vice President Chiwenga also highlighted the Second Republic’s achievements on the medical tourism front.

“Despite having experienced decades of economic challenges, the country has scored major achievements in health care, especially in human resource development. For instance, up to 2017, the country had one medical school with an average. The output of 80 medical doctors per year and now there are three medical schools with an average output of 150 doctors every year.

“Over the years, Zimbabwe has developed the capacity to train its medical specialists and health professionals of international repute. I am happy to inform you that there is basic infrastructure in the central hospitals to provide specialist Diagnostic and treatment services, although there is a need to strengthen and modernise these facilities,” said Dr Chiwenga.

Vice President Chiwenga further outlined the ministry’s strategy towards addressing some of the challenges in the provision of medical care, which includes strengthening and equipping the existing facilities as well as the construction of new facilities and training the human resource personnel.

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