Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. Community village health workers, formerly known as village health workers, have appealed to be recognised in the National Budget so that they are paid commensurate to their role as frontline workers.
They made the appeal during the National Stakeholder engagement meeting organized by the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) on Thursday.
Concilia Mukarati, a community health worker said they last got their meagre allowances which come with deductions in 2019. She said:
When we were trained. We were promised how we would work in the community, but nothing materialized.
We were told we would get an allowance at the end of the month the allowance was USD15 per month and a dollar is deducted for the bicycles.
The USD15 allowance is supposed to come quarterly and from 2019 to date, we haven’t been paid. It comes in a staggered manner that we won’t know when it last came.
We walked door to door sensitising the villagers on the importance of vaccinating their children and at times we faced resistance.
But when it comes to payment, they said they would pay four or 10 community health workers, yet we are 25.
When donors come with their programs, we will be working with them through the health and Child Care ministry but when it comes to payment, we are left out.
Mukarati pleaded for an upward review of their allowances saying that the USD15 was not enough for them to sustain their families. She said:
The USD15 we get is measly and we are asking that you relay information that the USD15 cannot buy my groceries to sustain my family as I am a widow.
When you are making this budget, may you please consider us because we are doing most of the work.
We refer patients to nurses for we are the village’s first port of call. When it comes to payment, we are tossed aside as other business.
Buhera Central legislator Mathew Nyashanu promised to take the village health workers’ concerns to the Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube. Said Nyashanu:
My dear sisters, the village health workers, I take your plight. I understand where you are coming from. I am a rural MP. I happen to work with you in rural communities.
Apparently, I am the MP for Buhera Central Constituency. So Buhera Central you know where it is, it is right in the centre of a poor community, and these are the challenges we meet with every day.
People died when they gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic at its height, and you would give them education. So those are the challenges we faced together.
But we are going to make representations in Parliament this year so that we try and convince the Finance minister.
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