Doctors, council clash over medical tests

Source: Doctors, council clash over medical tests | Newsday (News)

By Moses Mugugunyeki

PRIVATE doctors are up in arms with the Harare City Council after the local authority unilaterally passed a resolution which bars registered private practitioners from conducting examinations on food handlers.

The Public Health Act of 1994 stipulates that there must be examinations conducted on food handlers who work at public places.

They are supposed to be examined by a registered medical practitioner.

The Act states that the examinations are for tuberculosis and other infections which are of public health concern.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) secretary-general Cletos Masiya said doctors were perturbed after the council barred them from carrying out the examinations.

“Routinely, we as private practitioners would perform these examinations and issue the relevant medical certificates which would be valid for a full calendar year,” he said.

“The stationery, thus the physical certificate, would be sold for a fee by the inspecting authority, who is the city health department from Harare Municipality. Further, the environmental health office would carry out routine checks for licences at food handling premises.”

Masiya said the law was clear on the matter, which prompted them to engage the city’s health services director Prosper Chonzi and his
team.

“We resolved to correct the problem and put action points to immediately ensure the private doctors could continue to provide the essential service while we also addressed the concerns that the city health department had.”

He said medical practitioners were still worried that the resolutions were yet to be fulfilled despite private practitioners having been following up with their counterparts at the council.

“If this continues, we, as MDPPZA, will seek immediate restitution at law to compel them to act appropriately,” he said.

Masiya said the local authority wanted to collect large amounts of money from their surgeries at a time when they were preventing them from accessing revenue since they served the business community.

Efforts to get a comment from Chonzi were fruitless, but council spokesperson Michael Chideme said the issue was resolved.

“They (private medical practitioners) can now do the examinations, but the certificate is issued by the council,” Chideme said.

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