The medical sector in the country is still using the public health act that was operationalised in 1924 and has not been reviewed since, making it a mere piece of paper with good principles but with a lot of gaps.

Medical doctors affiliated to the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) who are attending the 2017 annual Scientific Congress and Health Expo are expected to input their contributions towards a new public health bill so that it becomes relevant and is able to assist the operations of the health ministry in respect of a good health status for the nation.

This year’s Scientific Congress and Health Expo which is being held in the capital has brought together members from all parts of the country.

Medical doctors are pushing for the new public health bill to clear issues of medical aid and private practice.

Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa acknowledged the need for aligning the present act with what is happening in the country and the whole world as the bill is now outdated.

He pointed out the new public health bill is almost complete and now awaits submission to the relevant structures, that is cabinet and parliament.

Attempts to review the act were made in 1993 but the efforts hit a brick wall.

ZIMA president, Dr Agnes Mahomva concurred with the Minister of Health that thoroughness and diligence are needed in preparing the act adding doctors will deliberate on areas they want included during the annual general meeting slated for this Saturday (tomorrow).

The bill, among other things, will address issues of user fees, traditional medicines and access to health by all, as well as affordability of health care.

It will also introduce responses and management frameworks for emerging health threats like cancer and other non communicable diseases.

In his speech to mark the official opening of the congress, Dr Parirenyatwa highlighted a number of challenges facing the health sector among them, the shortage of specialist doctors and the unavailability of a full complement of staff at provincial hospitals.

The Health Minister also emphasized the need to bring back the respect the medical profession deserves.

The congress is running under the theme, “Innovations in Health Care” and some of the pioneers of post 1980 Zimbabwe medical landscape are set to be honoured this Friday (today) night for their outstanding contributions to medicine.