Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday blasted retail pharmacists saying they lacked knowledge of the Public Health Act after they sent a petition to Parliament demanding to be considered for government posts such as secretary in the Health ministry.
Chiwenga, who is also Health minister, said this during a virtual meeting with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health to discuss the petition by the Retail Pharmacists Association of Zimbabwe.
He said they lacked understanding of the framework that governed the appointment of secretaries of ministries.
“The ministry’s position is that the petitioners have misdirected themselves and further exposed their lack of understanding of the technical and legal framework that governs the appointment of posts of permanent secretary, and provincial and district health officers,” Chiwenga said.
“In this regard, we recommend that they be referred to the Ministry of Health and Child Care to be assisted in understanding the technical basis and legal framework that govern the said posts,” he said.
The Health Professions Act recognises all health professionals and categories for the posts.
“The Health Services Board (HSB) implements the provision of the Act as it is responsible for recruiting all posts of deputy directors to directors. The procedure is competitive to satisfy the constitutional requirements of appointment based on merit.
“The Public Health Act has recognised the technical nature of the functions to be performed by chief health officer, and the provincial and district health officers in relation to the ministry’s responsibility of public
He said the HSB also employed provincial and district health officials through a competitive process.
“The post of secretary of the ministry is a constitutional appointment, and none of the positions alluded to in the petition are appointed in terms of the Public Health Act,” he said.
Chiwenga said candidates with a public health background and holders of business administration degrees were more likely to land government posts.
“The petitioners cast a blind eye and ignored the fact that the three are technical posts responsible for treating patients as indicated by the Medical Services Act. The core function of medical practitioners — because of their basic training, certificate and licensing — is to treat patients, while pharmacists dispense medicines prescribed by medical practitioners.
“The public health qualification does not qualify to treat patients as it is only meant to equip health care professionals with preventive aspects of health services,” he said.