June 24, 2017 in News
Village health workers across the country’s provinces earn a paltry $14 each month, given to them on a quarterly basis by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other development partners, it has been revealed.
By Vanessa Gonye
The workers move around communities educating people on preventing and treating common ailments related to HIV, typhoid and tuberculosis among others.
Speaking at the Community Working Group on Health annual national meeting in Harare on Thursday, Binga North Member of Parliament, Prince Sibanda, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, expressed concern at the meagre earnings being given to over 2 000 village health workers (VHWs) across the country.
“The burden they are carrying is too much compared to the remuneration they are getting,” he said.
Sibanda bemoaned the fact that the VHWs were doing more than what was initially set for them whereby each person would work in a single village, but now each of them was obliged to work in around five villages in near-round-clock routine.
He urged government to prioritise health services and cut on unnecessary expenditures.
“We made a recommendation that at least they should be given $200 per month, in addition to what our development partners are bringing in so that we encourage them to continue doing their work,” Sibanda said.
A VHW from Goromonzi acknowledged that they were indeed earning $14 per month for the services they were offering in their villages.
“We get $14 per month which comes on a quarterly basis from UNDP though it is not guaranteed as it may never be availed, some haven’t received anything from 2004,” Isabel Mombe from Chikwaka said.
“We really don’t know who is responsible for paying us though we hear it’s UNDP, it is not really clear and we don’t know who to ask when we do not receive our money.”
According to ZimStat, in 2014 the total consumption poverty datum line for one person was $102, which places village health workers way beneath that margin.