The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne led a study published in the journal Nature Medicine where patients whose lower bodies had been left completely paralyzed after spinal cord injuries were able to walk, cycle and swim using a nerve-stimulation device controlled by a touchscreen tablet (Reuters). Wow right!!
While other learning institutes are developing ways to make the “lame” walk; some of our countries are widely investing in “miracles” based on white strings around their wrists and weekly purchases of “holy” water from “Papa” to cure them from their ailments. This is how some of our population chooses to invest in health advancement. Some have fled the country to expand their opportunities to enable them to exercise and expand their knowledge and become part of the technological revolution taking place elsewhere. Others, true to form have stayed but their research capacities are limited to fighting communicable diseases, joblessness, everyday economic battles to feed their families while being exploited at every turn-as they drop change in buses that leak, bribing passport or ID officials or even battling to pay school fees which undeniably opens the elusive door to the advancement that they yearn for. On the other hand, we have outstanding individuals who have begun sowing their efforts within the medical sphere through cultivating their own minds, expanding their technical knowledge and vision and contributing to the technological miracles all around the world. The question is will their efforts improve the health landscape in Zimbabwe? And if so, how long will that take? Moreso, to what extent will this improvement be experienced equitably by the Zimbabwean population?
As usual when individual altruism gets swallowed by capitalism or rather simply; gets diluted by the overarching “black tax” experienced by the diaspora and locally based individuals alike; we turn to our government institutions to see if they are able and willing to invest in resources alike to contribute to the advancement of technology which may improve health outcomes of not only the citizenry but has foreseeable global reach. So the question of the day is “Where is Zimbabwe as a country on the health technologies spectrum?”