HomeNewsMnangagwa appoints Health perm secretary

Mnangagwa appoints Health perm secretary

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By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday appointed Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza as new permanent secretary for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, replacing Agnes Mahomva who was appointed chief co-ordinator of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic in May this year.

In a statement last night, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said Chimedza’s appointment was with immediate effect.

“Dr Chimedza brings with him a wealth of experience to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, in particular and the health services sector in general, where he is expected to refocus the nation’s health delivery services in order to enhance innovation, integrity, transparency, efficiency, and vibrant stakeholder participation as the country fights the war against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.

A medical doctor by profession, Chimedza once served as medical officer in the Air Force of Zimbabwe in Gweru and was, until his recent appointment, director of general health services at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces headquarters in Harare.

His appointment comes at a time COVID-19 cases in the country are on a sharp rise, with critics blaming it on the absence of a substantive Health minister following the sacking of Obadiah Moyo on corruption allegations last month.

Several public hospitals are also running without chief executive officers after they were fired last month for alleged incompetence.

Meanwhile, the Health ministry will today flight a US$5,6 million tender for the procurement of four polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines as government intensifies testing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Speaking at a COVID-19 taskforce media briefing, Mutsvangwa said PCR tests had doubled, with average tests per day standing at 1 130 compared to 559 from the week ending July 24.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care will be flighting a 72-hour tender on the 4th of August 2020 for the procurement of four PCR machines,
220 000 PCR test kits, 25 000 antigen RDTs [rapid diagnostic tests] and other laboratory consumables. The US$5,6 million already allocated by government will be utilised for this procurement,” she said.

She said to address testing backlog and delays in the issuance of test results, laboratory staff at Mpilo (Bulawayo) and St Luke’s (Lupane) hospitals had been trained to use the Abbott Platform, which will assist in clearing the backlog at the National TB Reference Laboratory in Bulawayo.

Mutsvangwa said Harare rapid response teams conducted tests at Mbare Musika on Sunday and yesterday, and of those tested, seven (8,75%) were positive.

She said government was analysing hotspots such as vegetable markets infection rates, adding that four additional rapid response teams were being established, with two in Chitungwiza, one in Ruwa and another in Epworth.

“Treasury has allocated Harare $10 million, Bulawayo $6 million and Chitungwiza $2,5 million for the COVID-19 teams especially for rapid response teams,” Mutsvangwa said, adding that allowances for non-health frontline staff were being finalised and would be paid according to risk categories.

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