The Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) annual congress kicked off in Harare with a symposium that tackled the revolutionary new HIV drug dolutegravir which recent data from a study has linked it to neural tube defects.

Local and international medical practitioners are attending this year’s ZIMA congress which is discussing various trending global health issues.

On Wednesday (yesterday) a symposium which tackled issues to do with new ARV drugs and viral resistance saw medical practitioners discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the new HIV drug dolutegravir, which has been described as a breakthrough weapon in the global fight against HIV.

Most countries are introducing a dolutegravir-based first line regimen to replace the existing regimen and ZIMA president Dr Agnes Mahomva said it is critical that medical practitioners discuss the issue at length.

Another topical issue is emergency medicine, an area where the country is lagging behind.

ZIMA Secretary General Dr Shingi Bopoto said lack of appropriate emergency medicine and equipment in ambulances is a great cause for concern.

There are other breakthrough scientific programmes or breakthrough scientific papers that are coming.

One of the highlights is robotic prostatectomy where effectively robots are used to do some types of operations.

An expo where pharmaceutical companies, medical service providers and medical aid societies are exhibiting their products and services is also underway.

ZIMA is a representative body of all medical professionals that are registered to practice medicine in Zimbabwe and at this year’s congress, the association will hold elections to choose a new executive.