By Farirai Machivenyika
Switzerland has pledged to support Zimbabwe's economic reform process as part of efforts to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations.The pledge was made by the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Councillor Ignazio Cassis, who was in the country on Wednesday. He toured Newlands Clinic in Harare, which primarily offers HIV and Aids treatment, counselling and research.
It is operated by the Ruedi Luthy Foundation founded by Professor Ruedi Luthy and receives financial support from the Swiss government.
Addressing journalists soon after meeting Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo, Mr Cassis said his government was willing to provide support to the country's health sector.
"We are here in Zimbabwe with our embassy and with our Swiss Development Agency and we will support the efforts of the ministry and of the new Government to stabilise the situation and put into place the reforms, the economic reforms you plan to do and just to have a good relationship with Zimbabwe," he said.
Government is implementing various policy initiatives aimed at improving the country's business climate and attract investment.
Mr Cassis commended the work being done at the clinic to assist HIV and Aids patients.
"The concept of caring for persons here is a holistic concept of caring for the people," he said. "It's a comprehensive approach of dealing with persons who are suffering.
"I enjoyed very much to see the efforts being made on the many issues the clinic is dealing with. I have heard that more than 10 000 people have been cared for here and over 6 500 who have been cared for are HIV and Aids patients."
In his remarks, Dr Moyo commended Professor Luthy for his efforts in combating HIV and Aids in the country through provision of the latest technologies to deal with the disease and also training of medical personnel.
"I was also happy that you are supporting this clinic through a grant and I was saying to the minister (Mr Cassis) we would like to improve our relationship and to see more investors coming into Zimbabwe to invest in the health sector," he said.
"We would want to see the establishment of pharmaceutical industries here in the health sector in Zimbabwe and the minister has indicated that they are going to look at those possibilities and that he is here to create a conducive working environment between our two nations. We are happy that you have chosen health as your number one (priority)."