A JOINT meeting of Sadc Health ministers and ministers responsible for HIV and Aids is being held in Victoria Falls to discuss matters of concern in the health sector like Ebola, HIV and Aids and tuberculosis (TB).
Health and Child Care permanent secretary Brigadier-General Gerald Gwinji said all 15 Sadc member states are expected to attend so as to establish a regional approach to healthcare services.
“The thrust of this meeting is to have a regional approach, but with a local frame,” he said.
“We want to develop similar health standards across the region, which will mean that if you go to Mozambique you will get more or less the same type of TB treatment that you would get in Zimbabwe or Malawi.”
Gwinji said because of high levels of migration and cross-border travel in the region, there was need to establish a common approach to treatment and medical facilities so that when people get ill while visiting a certain country, they could get the same treatment as in their own country.
“As medical officials, we have already discussed matters around Ebola, like taking care of health workers and Ebola patients for these are key concerns in the region right now,” he said.
“We have come up with certain recommendations that will be put in place for consideration by ministers as the conference progresses.”
Gwinji said the Ebola crisis in West Africa had delayed the holding of the annual Sadc health ministers’ meeting as the World Health Organisation regional committee meeting was postponed several times and this delayed the regional meeting.
“As the health sector in the region, the biggest challenges we are facing right now are on HIV and Aids and malaria issues,” he said.
According to National Aids Council report, about 1 369 028 people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe with 61 476 people dying annually and 905 368 people on anti-retroviral therapy.