Rumbidzayi Zinyuke-Senior Health Reporter
Doctors under the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) have opposed the petition by pharmacists to amend the Public Health Act and allow all professionals in the health sector to be considered for top administrative posts in Government.
The pharmacists petitioned Parliament last month to amend the Act for them to be considered for posts such as permanent secretaries.
They said the Public Health Act of 1924 only recognised medical doctors as the only health professionals considered for administrative posts in the ministry despite the fact that other health professionals also played an important role in the healthcare delivery system.
Giving submissions to the health and Child Care Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, the doctors argue that the positions of permanent secretary or chief health officers in the Ministry of Health needed to be held by people qualified to provide leadership and coordination for the best health service delivery.
Zima national president Dr Francis Chiwora said there was no need to review the Act, less than two years after the last amendment.
“We searched among ourselves where the document is lacking and we were unable to find any deficit. We do not believe that administrators can take up these posts because they are not trained for it.
“Each post in Government has a minimum entry level requirement and a Masters in public health administration is not a minimum entry level requirement for posts such as permanent secretaries, but an added advantage. Those who are specialised in a certain area should take up posts in those areas,” he said.
Dr Christopher Samkange, a member of Zima national executive committee said it was important not to lose sight of what health delivery was about.
The Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe, however, made submissions to the Parliamentary committee supporting the petition by pharmacists.
HPA secretary-general Mr Shepherd Humure said the country needed to catch up with international trends with regards administrative appointments in the public health sector.