MoHCC's and WHO Health Promotion Efforts at Agricultural Show Educate Thousands, Emphasizing 'Prevention Over Cure’
By Tatenda Chimbwanda
Harare, Zimbabwe – Over 50,000 individuals, spanning both physical and virtual attendees, benefited from the crucial health information shared by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) Healthcare Transformation Talks held during the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show (ZAS). The Healthcare Transformation talks were co-organized by MoHCC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Margaret Munyengeterwa, a teacher from Highfields, expressed her gratitude after attending one such health talk focusing on eye health. " I am now equipped with newfound knowledge about eye health, especially regarding children's health conditions,” she said. She plans to share this information with her students, highlighting the unique opportunity to learn directly from health specialists like Dr. B.M. Macheka, the Eye Specialist who led the talk.
For vendor Fortunate Chakonda, also from Highfields, these health talks have become a routine part of her year. Having attended the MoHCC Transformation Health Talk last year, she did not miss a single session this year. She now proudly carries the moniker "health guru" in her community, sharing the knowledge she gains from these talks. "The mental health discussions profoundly impacted me, given the visible effects I've observed in my own community, particularly the dire consequences of drug and substance abuse. The knowledge I've gained will significantly enable me to assist my community members who are grappling with mental health challenges, especially in guiding them on where to seek help," she said, eager to share her new learnings with her community.
The MoHCC Transformative Health Talks held during the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show from August 30th to September 2nd, 2023, attracted around 1,000 physical attendees and an additional 50,000 virtual attendees. They discussed a range of topics, including Oral Health, Mental Health, Eye Health, Cancer, and Hematology. Each day, an average of four specialists presented for an hour, interacting with the public to answer their questions and promote healthier lives.
Brighton Mufakwadziya, an Occupational Therapist from MoHCC, explained, "We dedicated an entire day to Mental Health education to increase public awareness. These talks gave us a platform to educate the public about these conditions, their signs and symptoms, and the available treatments. Moreover, by engaging in open discussions about mental health, we hoped to dismantle these stigmas, making it easier for individuals to seek the care they need."
This year’s Healthcare Transformation Talks were a new feature added to the MoHCC exhibition during ZAS, which earned them the Best Health Stand award among 520 exhibitors. "We wanted people to receive health information on various health issues to ensure that they seek healthcare earlier as prevention is always better than cure," said MoHCC spokesperson Mr. Donald Mujiri.
The World Health Organization (WHO) supported the Transformation Health Talks as part of its Health Promotion Efforts.
“By educating individuals about the importance of regular screenings, immunizations, and early detection of diseases, they can help identify potential health risks at an early stage. Early detection often leads to more effective treatment options and improved health outcomes,” said WHO Zimbabwe Communications Officer, Miss Tatenda Chimbwanda.
Overall, The MoHCC supported by WHO has shown it takes health promotion seriously, providing invaluable opportunities for the Zimbabwean public to learn from various health specialists.