HSB profligacy queer, shocking
©️ ZIMBABWE’s Health Services Board — mandated with representing the interests of employees in the entire health sector — has been in the eye of a storm following revelations that they have been pocketing hefty allowances, at a time the country is battling the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China in December last year, has to date infected over three million people and killed in excess of 200 000 globally.
Upheavals in the sector have not been unusual with doctors spending the bulk of the latter half of 2019 on strike over hospital equipment, salaries and other conditions of service. On the other hand, complaints from nurses — another key component of the country’s health delivery system — have also been in the public arena.
As the country — and indeed the rest of the world — battles the Covid-19 pandemic, available resources should have been pushed towards interventions aimed at containing the spread of the deadly virus.
Instituted in 2005 with a mandate to represent health workers, members of the Paulinus Sikhosana-chaired HSB reportedly received fuel, airtime, data bundles and transport worth thousands, reflecting the general rot and tendency to misuse public funds by people who should be public servants responsible for ensuring good working conditions for government health workers.
Clearly, this borders on corruption and extravagance and speaks to issues of transparency in our government and how urgent it is to adopt a multi-sectoral approach in dealing with this crisis to enhance accountability.
Zimbabwe has barely done enough towards addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. Comparatively, as of yesterday, South Africa had tested a total of 197 127 people, with 5 350 testing positive, while recording 103 deaths and 2 073 recoveries.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe had conducted 7 642 tests, recording 40 confirmed cases, four deaths and five recoveries. The latest jump from 32 cases to 40 clearly shows that the Covid-19 burden for Zimbabwe is yet to manifest, yet officials we entrust with making crucial decisions on behalf of the health sector reflect inclinations towards self-enrichment.
What is even more worrying is the fact that the HSB case is not the only one. In fact, it could only represent the tip of the iceberg as the behaviour of most senior government officials is not any different. Their salaries are seemingly modest, but the allowances and perks they take home are at the least obscene, if not outright immoral.
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