Health sector salary dispute

HARARE - The salary disparities in the health sector were in the spotlight in Parliament this week, with a legislator questioning the scheme and alleging it was causing divisions within the health ranks.

Donors devised the Human Resources Retention Scheme which involved incentivisation payments to some specialist health workers, leaving out support staff. Bankrolled by British development agency DFID, Crown Agents designed the model, which is delivering the retention allowance payments, thereby re-establishing credibility and confidence in the health sector, causing more people to report for duty.

Zanu (PF) MP Dorothy Mangami asked: “What is the ministry’s policy regarding the donor funds towards salaries of employees, specifically in the ministry of Health where funds are not catering for everybody. Is it not a form of looking down or discrimination upon the other members of staff who are not being given such funds?”

The question was directed to the minister of Public Service, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, during Parliament’s question and answer time. Mukonoweshuro elaborated that at the beginning of the GNU, the government was confronted with many challenges in terms of the government wage bill. “The government kitty was virtually empty but at the same time, people were working and they had to be remunerated in order for them to produce results,” Mukonoweshuro explained.

“In the health sector, donors came in to augment salaries. These are all transitional measures which will only last for so long as we are in these doldrums. As soon as the Treasury is in a position to pay adequate salaries to its employees, all these will only be regarded as of residual significance. It is not a matter of discrimination; it is a matter of practicality. We needed our hospitals to have been functioning, we needed our nurses and doctors to work and that resulted in us taking such measures as discussing with donors for them to come up with a sufficient resource envelope to augment what government can provide.”

The health sector was one of the hardest hit by this crisis as health sector workers abandoned the hospitals and chose other ways of earning US dollars, South African rand or Botswana pula needed to buy food.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *