21 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Health Body Lobbies for Amendment of Act

The Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe is lobbying the Government to amend the Health Professions Act, which governs and regulates their operations.

HPAZ secretary general and chief executive officer Mr Shepherd Humure recently said they had identified loopholes in the Act that needed amendments.

"We expect to hand over our proposed amendments to the Minister of Health and Child Welfare before submission to the Attorney General's Office, then eventually to Parliament," he said.

"This is something that can be done overnight, and our seven affiliate councils are making their submissions concerning the amendment."

HPAZ is made up of the dentists, pharmacists, nurses, laboratory scientists, clinical scientists and environmental health technicians.

Mr Humure said there was a need to harmonise health inspection of institutions as there was "over-crowding" in the present scenario.

"Besides HPAZ carrying out health inspections, we also have other players such as local authorities and the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe," he said.

"Sometimes there is an overlapping of activities between the various organisations that inspect premises, hence the need to harmonise the inspections in terms of the Act."

Mr Humure said there was a need for a stakeholder meeting to avoid confusing health practitioners on the ground.

He said they were not receiving enough funds for their operations.

"In 2012, we received an allocation of only US$20 000 from the fiscus which is not adequate for our operations," said Mr Humire.

"We appeal to the Government to inject more funds into the authority's coffers as we are crippled and failing to carry out our mandate throughout the country."

HPAZ was established following the repealing of the Medical, Dental and Allied Professions Act (Chapter 27:08) and the disbanding of the Health Professions Council on June 30, 2001.

It was created in terms of provisions of Section 4 of the new Health Professions Act (Chapter 27:19), which came into effect on April 2, 2001.

The major responsibilities of HPAZ are the registration and control of health institutions and the regulation of services.

It also conducts inspections in all health institutions throughout the country and is empowered to shut down those that do not meet the set standards.

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