Woes mount for Health Service Board

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WOES continue to mount for the under-fire Health Service Board (HSB), with legislators demanding that the government must disband it,while senior doctors say it has failed in its mandate.

This comes as health workers downed tools insisting that the government must pay their salaries in United States dollars.

The Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) said the HSB was failing them as they were getting huge perks while workers were starving.

“The HSB commissioners are now the government’s slave drivers who are paid to make the healthcare workers toil for peanuts and to stifle them when they demand fair wages. They get huge perks, including several thousand litres of fuel and expensive cars so that they can oppress.

“Every healthcare worker must get a fair wage. The government needs to take the healthcare of the nation seriously and pay properly for workers to afford to come to work. These workers cannot afford it anymore. Their earnings have been wiped out by inflation,” SHDA said on its official Twitter account.

The sentiments by senior doctors buttressed the legislators’ demand for the disbandment of the HSB.

“There is a general feeling among citizens and health workers that your board has become one of those commissions and boards that are not adding any value to services required in this country,” MDC MP for Binga North Prince Sibanda told the parliamentary portfolio on Health last week.

“You indicated that you are powerless and you have become like a sponge which is used to deflect whatever aspirations the sector has. I don’t think the existence of your board is still necessary under the circumstances you have indicated.”

MDC MP for Emakhandeni/Entumbane Dingilizwe Tshuma said HSB had failed to find a lasting solution to the current crisis.

“It seems that you are failing to find a lasting solution to the current health crisis. You need to have a lasting solution to the health sector on remuneration challenges,” he said.

HSB chairperson Paulinus Sikhosana told the Daily News on Sunday that the legislators have an oversight role and their role was not to appoint the board.

“They have an oversight role and they are not supposed to appoint or dissolve the board,” Sikhosana said.
This comes as there are allegations that the HSB spent money buying top-of-the-range vehicles for commissioners while health workers are suffering.

On Tuesday, the Health Apex Council met with the government in the Bipartite Negotiating Panel where the government indicated that there would be no salary increase for the health workers for the next three months, given that they were offered a 50 percent increase and US$75 coronavirus (Covid-19) allowance valid for the next three months.

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