The Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa is being accused of not pushing for the speedy finalisation of the Public Health Act which should be assisting the operations of the health ministry in respect of a good health status for the nation.
The amendment process of the Public Health Act commenced in 2010 but the bill has not yet been brought before parliament to be debated.
The new Public Health Act will replace the 1920 law which is silent on most new public health challenges such as HIV and AIDS, cancer and a host of other non-communicable diseases.
Expectations were high that the bill would be tabled in parliament during the fourth and the fifth sessions of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Health stakeholders from all the country’s 10 provinces, who are attending the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) meeting in Harare, expressed concern over the delays in bringing the revised Public Health Act before the National Assembly for debate.
CWGH Executive Director, Mr Itai Rusike said the old Public Health Act does not talk to new methodologies, it has failed to incorporate norms and constitutional provisions and does not reflect on post-independence health policies.
Executive Director of the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development in Uganda, who was the guest speaker at the CWGH meeting weighed in saying there is need for the speedy review of the Act as it is no longer addressing the obtaining health challenges.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Gerald Gwinji acknowledged that the bill has not been reviewed for the past 90 years and it is no longer aligned with the country’s constitution.
The country’s old Public Health Act is a 1924 instrument and it is the principle law regulating public health matters being administered by the health ministry in protecting public health at various levels over the last 90 years.