Health research key in decision making – minister
Published On February 19, 2014 » 2089 Views» By Administrator Times » Latest News, Stories
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HEALTH Deputy Minister Chitalu Chilufya has observed that the landscape of health research in Zambia is improving under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.
Officiating at the pharmacy research conference in Lusaka, Dr Chilufya said health research was key to generating the much-needed sound policy decision making in healthcare.
He said Zambia was in the past a destination for health research.
“However, the potential for this research to inform policy decision making has been hampered by the absence of a strong institutional framework to harness and disseminate health research information timely.
“However, under the PF Government, the landscape for health research in Zambia is changing. In March, 2013, Parliament enacted the Health Research Act No. 2 of 2013 with a view to provide legal framework for the coordination, regulation, financing and developing of health research,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said  the act was the first piece of legislation to provide an institutional framework for health research involving human participants, intellectual property protection in health research.   This also includes  providing a system within which health research activities could be financed  as well as institutionalising the ethics system for health research in Zambia.
Dr Chilufya said it was Government’s desire to increase investment in research, especially with a goal to developing local capacity for the development of new drugs, vaccines and innovative approaches to disease control.
“It is disheartening to note, however, the slow pace at which local scientists are studying the available traditional remedies and practices to come up with new solutions to the control of infections and non-communicable diseases which have continued to cause unnecessary illnesses and deaths among the people of Zambia,” he said.
He said Government had made strides in addressing the challenges in the pharmaceutical sector and that in the light of the Business Licensing Reforms that the State was currently implementing, the Pharmaceutical Act of 2004 was replaced with the Medicines and Allied Substances Act of 2013.
That move, he said, had strengthened the legal framework to improve the access and availability of good quality medicines and related products to the Zambian community.
Dr Chilufya also cited the aggressive stance Government had taken in fighting the pilferage of medicines in public health facilities through the creation of a taskforce.
Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) deputy chief executive officer Izukanji Sikazwe pledged her organisation’s commitment to supporting Government in the delivery of quality healthcare through, among other areas, propagating research anchored on what was locally relevant.\
Dr Sikazwe also dispelled the assertion that CIDRZ was only interestedin collaborating with foreign institutions and individuals.

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