AG’s Of­fice scru­ti­nises health re­forms

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara Chron­i­cle Re­porter

THE Min­istry of Health and Child Care has sub­mit­ted the draft Pub­lic Health Bill (PHB) to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice to align leg­is­la­tion on health ser­vices with the Bill of Rights.

The Bill as well as the Med­i­cal Ser­vices Bill deals with all con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to pre­ven­ta­tive as­pects of health in line with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Health and Child Care, Dr Ger­ald Gwiji, said the State was man­dated to take rea­son­able leg­isla­tive and other mea­sures within the lim­its of avail­able re­sources to achieve cer­tain rights.

The new leg­is­la­tion will in­cor­po­rate all con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to preven­tive as­pects of health such as en­vi­ron­men­tal rights, the right to food and wa­ter as well as san­i­ta­tion.

“As the Min­istry of Health and Child Care we have a large share of the task since the new con­sti­tu­tion has 12 clauses in the dec­la­ra­tion of rights that ad­dress health re­lated is­sues and de­mand to be aligned with the ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion,” said Dr Gwinji.

In a speech read on his be­half by the Prin­ci­pal Direc­tor Pre­ven­tion Ser­vices in the Min­istry of Health, Mr Syd­ney Makarawo at a work­shop to re­view health laws in Bu­l­awayo, Dr Gwinji said some of the rights out­lined by the new con­sti­tu­tion would be in­cor­po­rated into the Pub­lic Health Act.

“The Pub­lic Health Draft Bill is now with the of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral for fi­nal­i­sa­tion as con­sul­ta­tions started well be­fore this cur­rent ex­er­cise and it will be tabled be­fore Par­lia­ment soon.

Fur­ther con­sul­ta­tions will be con­ducted again as part of the Par­lia­men­tary stage of the leg­isla­tive process,” said Dr Gwinji.

“The Pub­lic Health Bill will in­cor­po­rate all con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to pre­ven­ta­tive as­pects of health such as en­vi­ron­men­tal rights, right to food, wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion.”

Dr Gwinji said the Med­i­cal Ser­vices Amend­ment Bill will in­cor­po­rate all pro­vi­sions with health as­pects re­lat­ing to med­i­cal treat­ment.

He said con­sul­ta­tions were open to ev­ery­one and in­clud­ing spe­cial groups such as chil­dren, women, peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties, war vet­er­ans and the el­derly.

Prin­ci­pal Direc­tor of Pathol­ogy in the Min­istry of Health Dr Maxwell Hove said the con­sul­ta­tions would be held coun­try­wide.

“From the north­ern re­gion, we found that most peo­ple are con­cerned about ac­cess. Ac­cess has sev­eral di­men­sions, it’s about phys­i­cal ac­cess and also eco­nomic ac­cess. And the eco­nomic ac­cess then comes with af­ford­abil­ity, so most peo­ple find them­selves hav­ing ac­cess to in­sti­tu­tions with­out the nec­es­sary pro­vi­sions,” said Dr Hove. @Aux­il­iaK.

Doc­tors per­form free eye cataract op­er­a­tion on pa­tients at Richard Mor­ris Hospi­tal in Bu­l­awayo on Wed­nes­day. (Pic­ture by Eliah Saushoma)

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