Mathew Masinge, Court Reporter
The Health Professions Authority Zimbabwe has lashed television host Tinashe Mugabe’s Global DNA Zimbabwe saying its right to freedom of profession does not supersede the public’s right to health.
Mugabe had approached the High Court challenging suspension of his-The Closure DNA show-by the Health Professions Authority Zimbabwe and the Medical Laboratory and Clinical Scientists Council Zimbabwe.
In suspending the business both boards had queried Mugabe’s professionalism to issue the results and compliance with provisions of the Health Professions Act.
Mugabe went on to contest the decision by seeking an order to declare the actions null and void.
In its notice of opposition, the HPAZ and MLCSCZ submitted that it is their duty to safeguard the public against unsafe public health methods.
“Global DNA Zimbabwe’s right to freedom, trade and occupation does not supersede the public’s right to health.
“It was therefore imperative for the Global DNA Zimbabwe’s registration to be suspended to avoid infringing against the public’s health
“…the application does not meet the requirements for a declaratory order and must accordingly be dismissed with costs,” argued HPAZ secretary general Shepherd Humure.
Humure also claimed that Mugabe’s company must have been registered as a health institution.
“A company by virtue of registration as company does not result in them having an automatic right to registration as a health institution.
“As an institution that was operating as a DNA testing facility and a collection site, Global DNA Zimbabwe was urged to comply with the provisions of the Health Professions Act and apply for registration as a health institution,” reads Humure’s affidavit.
He further opposes Mugabe’s assertion that he had complied with the requirements of the two boards before going on air.
“This is a medical process used to identify changes in the DNA sequence or chromosome structure.
“It is a medical process that requires collection, testing and analysis thereof.
“It is imperative for this honourable court to note that at no point since 2017 to 2021, did the Global DNA Zimbabwe raise issues regarding its suitability for registration as a health institution,” he said.
Medical Laboratory and Clinical Scientists Council Zimbabwe’s registrar, Agnes Chigora also argued that the delivery of the test results was unethical.
“It is a known fact that the delivery of the results to the clients by Global DNA Zimbabwe was unethical as most of the results were delivered and published in public domain and aired on ZBC-TV program as ‘The Closure DNA Show’ and on its YouTube channel.
“The delivery of results to the client in a public domain is unethical and in breach of the Patient Charter which protects client confidentiality,” argued Chigora.
She said Mugabe also failed to produce signed consent forms that allowed his show to go public with the results.
“On September 17th, 2021, we requested for the signed consent forms of clients whose results were being publicly announced and none was produced.
“The power to order closure of the offices is derived from the Health Professions Act and registration of Global DNA Zimbabwe as a health institution,” said Chigora.
Chigora also claims Mugabe would hire a doctor and a nurse to collect samples but failed to provide their credentials during a November 6 inspection.
The matter is yet to be heard.