By Daniel Chigundu
The National Assembly has called on Health and Child Care Minister Obediah Moyo to present another ministerial statement on the state of the health sector in the country amid reports of industrial action by health workers.
According to reports in the media, health workers have resorted to working only two days per week as a protest for better wages as they also prepare for a fully-fledged stay away.
The job action by the health workers is likely to put more pressure on the already pressed health sector which has been failing to offer meaningful services due to unavailability of drugs and other materials.
Speaking in the National Assembly on a point of privilege, Zvimba North Marian Chombo said there is a need for the health minister to explain to the House if he is aware of latest developments in the sector and how he intends to respond to them.
“Thank you, Mr Speaker Sir. I rise on a point of privilege on Standing Order 68 (d) and 69. My point of privilege is on the state of health delivery.
“I am aware that the Minister of Health and Child Welfare has presented a Ministerial Statement in this august House updating us on the state of the health delivery in the country.
“There are reports in the media that the nursing fraternity is on a go-slow – working two to three days a week and they are planning a full-scale strike a few weeks from now.
“Is the Ministry aware of this and if they are aware, are they putting any mitigating measures in place? I, therefore, request that the Minister of Health and Child Welfare gives us a Ministerial Statement on this. I thank you,” she said.
Unlike the teachers who are demanding to be paid their monthly salaries in United States Dollars, the health workers are demanding that the government restore the value of their salaries to the point it was in October 2018.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube is on record telling Parliament that treasury has a budget surplus of around $500 million.
Despite this surplus which has been disputed by some economists and former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Mthuli Ncube is unwilling to use it to better wages of civil servants.
As the industrial action by the health fraternity is not enough, teachers have also given notice of their own industrial action.–