Hope for Southern Africa’s health sector

By Charity Ruzvidzo

Harare – The Minister of Health and Child Care David Parirenyatwa has officially opened the SADC medical and dental regulatory association strategic plan aimed at overseeing and developing policies to improve the region’s health sector.

The regulatory association comprises of medical councils from Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland, among others.

Speaking at the regulatory association opening meeting in Harare recently, Dr Parirenyatwa said it was time for SADC to integrate economic activities in the region, particularly the provision of health.

“A diseased population is a recipe for poverty and adversely impacts on the wealth of a nation.

The major function of this medical regulatory body is to protect the public by promoting high standards of medical education, licensure, regulations and fitness to practice by doctors,” he said.

The regulatory association strategic plan is in line with SADC’s mandate to enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa through regional integration.

The Zimbabwe health minister said with support from SADC health ministers, the regulatory body will try to make it easier for medical and dental practitioners to operate in the region.

“We envisage a situation where there will be free movement of professionals among member states to assist in areas of the much needed specialisation for the benefit of our people. It is our belief that the integration will benefit all member states in areas of medical education and fitness practice, among others,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Professor John Chisi, the chairman on SADC health board, acknowledged the mammoth task the medical and dental regulatory body had to bring development to the health fraternity.

“We want to see that we develop instruments which will guide our association.

This body has been tasked to establish collaboration among SADC member states and come up with ways to change for the better the health of our people,” he said.

According to the SADC health policy, a healthy population is a necessary catalyst for economic and social development.

It notes that as Southern Africa improves industrial capacity and economy, the health of its citizens remains paramount in ensuring a sustainable future.

Recognising this level of importance, SADC has committed to the health of the region’s citizens.

It aims to attain an acceptable standard of health for all citizens and to reach specific targets within the objective of “Health for All” by 2020.

Part of the regulatory association’s objectives include establishing collaboration and mutual exchange of information between members and to assist members t adopt beneficial practices to function efficiently and effectively.

In addition, the regulatory body is expected to strengthen the standard of undergraduate, post graduate and continuing medical and dental education.

It will also assist members to develop and establish strategies of improving standards of professionalism in accordance with their needs and establish close relationships with other international organisations committed to improving professional standards among medical and dental practitioners.

Health experts have applauded the launch of the regulatory body citing the need to have a regional controlling panel that will promote universal ways of operations.

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