District Medical Officers Attain Field Epidemiology

Fifteen out of 20 District Medical Officers graduated after completing studies in Field Epidemiology amid calls for successful personnel to apply basic public health skills at their stations.

This translates to 75 percent pass rate while the remaining percentage failed to make it.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Agnes Mahomva, said the development relies essentially on the good health of Zimbabwe’s population, which provides a vital driving force for action in the political, economic and social spheres.

“The population’s state of health is largely determined by the effectiveness of the country’s health system, which needs to be capable of preventing diseases, restoring health,” said Mahomva.

District Medical Officers assumed positions without adequate information on what duties they are supposed to do hence management, leadership and epidemiologic skills remained a challenge.

This challenge is very evident upon completion of internship rotations at the central teaching hospitals when most doctors are deployed to districts where they assume leadership and managerial roles as District Medical Officers (DMOs).

“They often have inadequate public health knowledge in epidemic detection and response, and skills in leadership and management to perform effectively. An area that has been identified as a gap is the application of basic public health skills to district management,” added Mahomva.

“To cover this gap, the Ministry of Health and Childcare in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Zimbabwe Field Epidemiology Training Program (ZIMFETP), developed a competency-based training program for medical graduates who have been deployed,” said Mahomva.

Various testimonies were said by various doctors who confirmed that the medical training was indeed fruitful.

“I was assigned to assume duty as a DMO at a rural hospital and all I did was sign papers as I continued my clinical duties, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do,” said Dr Makumbe of Chipinge District Hospital.

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