Mukudzei Chingwere-Herald Reporter
African governments have an obligation to strengthen their health systems to guarantee quality service to citizens, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.
He made the remarks during a virtual address of the 71st World Health Organisation (WHO) regional committee for Africa on Tuesday.
This year’s session is being held virtually and ends today.
VP Chiwenga said health systems had faced a litmus test on preparedness and resilience to manage Covid-19, coupled with scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“The second major challenge was on the service provision side; we faced the unavailability of ventilators and inadequacy of oxygen supply,” he said through his Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro.
“We need stronger partnerships on local solutions to the development of life saving affordable and accessible equipment for our health systems.
“The tertiary institutions and industry need to foster partnerships that see the production of medical equipment in Africa as we had to do with PPE.”
VP Chiwenga added that Government and its partners responded by allocating additional funds to Covid-19 response, production of PPE, setting up an oxygen plant, hiring additional workers and maintaining essential health services delivery.
In June, VP Chiwenga launched the pharmaceutical manufacturing strategy aimed at boosting local production, which is in line with President Mnangagwa’s industrialisation strategy.