Cholera support staff yet to be paid

GOVERNMENT is yet to honour its pledge to pay medical staff hired at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare specifically to fight a cholera outbreak, which claimed 54 lives in September this year.

BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

About 28 medical staff, among them nurse aides, are yet to be paid their dues of around $600 each.

At the height of the cholera outbreak, President Emmerson Mnangagwa toured the hospital and pledged to pay the support staff, but has not yet honoured his promise nearly two months later.

“The President came and promised that people would be paid for their services. We were then told to avail our banking details or EcoCash numbers and we did so to the council administrator at Nazareth,” a nurse aide who declined to be named said.

She said some of her colleagues were paid some weeks ago, while others have not yet received their wages.

“He promised us and we are not happy with this. We are always being told different stories. The most affected are those who do not have banking details, but are using EcoCash,” the nurse aide said.

Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said the city fathers were not responsible for the payment as alleged by some of the workers who were now in the habit of besieging the Beatrice Road Hospital administration demanding payment.

“Our duty was to merely take down payment details and forward to the responsible Health ministry,” he told NewsDay recently.

Chideme also added that maybe some people had delayed in providing their details, which resulted in late processing of their money.

Contacted for comment, Health ministry secretary Gerald Gwinji said they paid the medical staff based on submissions from the city.

“We will seek clarification from them with regards to this group,” he said

Fifty-four people died in one of the worst cholera outbreaks after the 2008 one, which saw over 4 000 people losing their lives.

Obsolete sewer infrastructure and erratic water supplies have been the perennial drivers for cholera and typhoid outbreaks.

In the absence of these essentials, outbreaks of diseases will be a common feature, which burdens the health delivery system and chews into the scarce resources which could be channelled to other critical areas.

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