Zimbabwe commemorates World Health Day


Source: Zimbabwe commemorates World Health Day | The Herald

Zimbabwe commemorates World Health DayDr Mangwiro

Mukudzei Chingwere
Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe on Friday joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Health Day running under the theme “Our planet: Our health”.

Ministry of Health and Child Care’s chief director Public Health, Group Captain Dr Munyaradzi Dobbie said Government is committed to addressing climate change as indicated in the National Health Strategy 2021 2025.

“Our commitment is further emphasised through the objectives of the National Development Strategy (NDS).”

He was speaking during the commemorations where he gave a keynote address on behalf of Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro, where he talked of the link between health and climate change.

“Floods also bring with them other health problems such as malaria and diarrhoeal diseases. Zimbabwe is also prone to droughts, which create hunger and malnutrition among our communities.

“As I speak, Zimbabwe is likely to experience food shortages in 2022 as some areas have not received adequate rainfall,” said Dr Dobbie.

He said extreme weather events, land degradation and water scarcity are displacing people and affecting their health.

There has been an increase in pollution over the years and plastics are now found at almost every location including the bottom of our deepest oceans, rivers and even the highest mountains.

“There is a lot of waste including plastics along our roads. Rubbish is not being collected, especially in the cities. These pollutants are making their way into our food chain thereby exposing us to diseases.

“Systems that produce highly processed, unhealthy foods and beverages are driving a wave of obesity, increasing cancer and heart disease while generating a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are in turn affecting the state of our climate.”

In an earlier statement, Dr Mangwiro said climate change has the potential to stall the country’s development, posing a serious risk to food security, health, and adaptive capacity.

“Our Government has shown its commitment to address climate change through our National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) which seeks to establish specific provisions for dealing with climate change issues, understanding the extent of the threat, and putting in place specific actions to manage potential impacts.

“Our commitment to develop a climate-resilient Zimbabwe has also been demonstrated by the elevation of the Climate Change Office into a fully-fledged Climate Change Department,” said Dr Mangwiro.

UNICEF country representative, Dr Tajudeen Oyewale said children are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change which are becoming more widespread.

“As extreme weather events such as cyclones, droughts and heatwaves increase in frequency and ferocity, I call on Government to create risk-informed policies that place climate resilience at the center of national strategies,” said Dr Oyewale.

Due to climate change, Zimbabwe experienced Cyclone Idai in 2019 which killed people and damaged infrastructure.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Zimbabwe country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said, “climate change disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in communities.

“We call for accelerated action by leaders and all to preserve and protect health by investigating in mitigation of the climate crisis,” said Dr Gasasira.