Zimbabwe and South Africa have signed a five-year health cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening work in the fight against major diseases such as malaria and HIV and AIDS, fostering synergies in health human resources development and harmonization of health systems management.

The comprehensive health cooperation agreement between the two neighbouring countries was signed on the sidelines of the ongoing 67th World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee meeting being held in Victoria Falls.

The health cooperation agreement is a successor to the previous agreement which lapsed in 2014.

Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa who described the agreement as comprehensive and robust is convinced that the treaty will strengthen collaborative efforts between the two countries in tackling major diseases and in health human resources development.

Among other things the agreement result in increased cooperation on referral of patients for tertiary care, training of health staff, harmonisation of health research and regulations and the strengthening of traditional medicine development as an alternative in health provision.  

South Africa Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi expressed his pleasure that the agreement will set the tone for harmonisation and standardisation in the provision of health services between the two countries.

Truck drivers are also set to benefit from the implementation of the agreement which seeks to establish cross border clinics along major routes.

The agreement is in line with the SADC Protocol on Health which seeks to promote, co-ordinate and support individual as well as collective efforts to attain an acceptable standard of health.