Health minister pushes for re-engagement to save lives

Health and Child care minister David Parirenyatwa has urged Zimbabwe to swallow its pride, in the face of dwindling resources for the public health delivery system and engage donors, among them the United States, in order to mobilise funds for the sector.

Source: Health minister pushes for re-engagement to save lives – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 9, 2016

By Phyllis Mbanje

“In spite of the political bickering, we from the health sector, need that money to help our people,” he said at the commissioning of a new digital radiology system at Wilkins hospital in Harare yesterday.

Parirenyatwa commended USAid for supporting the country’s health sector.

“USAid are Americans isn’t it? We appreciate their support, resources for the health delivery system are being depleted,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said although the government had reversed the near collapse of public health delivery system, the country had not yet met its set goals and targets.

Meanwhile, health officials said new resettlement areas, like the densely populated Hopley, were fuelling incidences of Tuberculosis (TB) infection, which has become the largest killer ahead of HIV and Aids.

Poor people suffer more from the impact of diseases such as TB and HIV and the new areas are a hotspot, since they are overcrowded and infection becomes rampant and uncontrollable.

Acting health director for Harare, Clemence Duri said the increase of TB cases in these areas was worrisome.

“We need to come up with new strategies from now onwards and all stakeholders should rise to the challenge,” he said.

The new digital system was one such strategy that would help with diagnosis of more vicious strains of TB.

While TB cases have declined slightly, of concern is the new strain, DR-TB, which has been steadily rising over the years.

Parirenyatwa said infections such as TB and HIV have a synergistic effect on each other and may pose a major catastrophe on affected people.

From 118 cases in 2011 to 468 last year, the new threat is not easily diagnosed and many people could be infected and not exhibit any symptoms at all.

“By the middle of this year, we had recorded 319 cases already. Our thrust in addressing this new threat is early identification and free access to care and treatment,” Parirenyatwa said.

He said TB was underestimated and yet it was one of the biggest killers.

“So we are pinning our hopes on this new technology, which includes an audiometric machine to help ferret out cases of TB,” the health minister said.