Village health workers complain of paltry stipends

File picture of health workers demonstrating

VILLAGE health workers (VHWs) have raised concern over the measly US$14 monthly stipend they receive from government for their services.

VHWs are the first primary healthcare providers in communities.

Ezebela Mombeshora, a VHW from Goromonzi district, said the measly monthly stipend they receive was not commensurate with the distances they travel to administer home-based care to patients.

“The distance we travel is usually 30 or more kilometres as we respond to calls within villages. On remuneration, throughout the years, we have been getting US$15, while US$1 is subtracted for administration fees. The money is usually paid after three months,” Mombeshora said.

“Since we were transferred to the government payroll, there has not been formal communication and we are not sure how much we are getting over what period of time. We usually get US$200 or less when the money comes. We can stretch for long periods without getting anything,” she said.

Another VHW, Plaxcedes Kaseke said the issue of remuneration was of great concern given their unfavourable working conditions.

A 2017 Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health report noted that “there is no VHW who is getting their US$14 monthly allowance on time”.

“However, evidence shows that the allowance payment is erratic and uncertain with cadres sometimes paid once in a calendar year. When the allowances come, they will not be up to the payment date but have always remained behind, with the best performing districts having paid up VHWs.”

Community Working Group on Health team leader, Nonjabulo Mahlangu said VHWs must be under the employ of the Health and Child Care ministry and their allowances standardised.

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