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Chiwenga lauds EU – NewsDay

VICE President Constantino Chiwenga

VICE President Constantino Chiwenga has lauded the European Union (EU) and other development partners for supporting the country’s health sector with funding for maternal health programmes and vaccines.

Speaking yesterday during the launch of the Health Development Fund and the Health Resilient Fund in Harare, Chiwenga said government is grateful for the latest US$90 million EU and development partners funding to cover a three-year period, with US$30 million earmarked for each year. 

“The ministry is committed to supporting the Health Resilience Fund in the same manner it supported predecessor programmes, that is, the Health Transition Fund, Integrated Support Programme and Health Development Fund. Partners will come with funding but we have to be at the forefront to implement and fund as well,” Chiwenga said.

“Government is grateful for the Health Development Fund’s contribution of nearly US$350 million through funding support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, European Union, Government of Sweden, Embassy of Ireland and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. “

He said the Health Development Fund will assist government to reduce high maternal and under-five mortalities. 

“Interventions implemented addressed health systems bottlenecks such as health policy development, governance and coordination, availability of child and maternal health services and community engagement, participation and availability of critical health commodities including medicines and family planning,” he said. 

Speaking at the same event, where the EU donated US$45 million, making it the biggest project donor, EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchmann said:  “It’s important to increase public spending in the health sector for the attainment of universal health coverage that ensures no one and no place is left behind. We welcome the fact that government spending on health and child care as a percentage of total public expenditure is projected to increase from 10,6% in 2022 to 11,2% in 2023.” 

Unicef representative and fund administrator of the Health Development Fund and Health Resilience Fund, Tajudeen Oyewale applauded the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and the EU for supporting Unicef and United Nations Population Fund programmes. 

Yesterday’s event also marked the launch of the National Health Strategy (NHS) 2021-2025, and the Investment Case for the National Health Strategy and Coordination Framework for the health sector. 

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Zimbabwe approves ‘draconian’ law targeting civil society – News24

  • Zimbabwe’s government has approved legislation that looks to “improve accountability” of charities in the country.
  • It has, however, drawn flak, with critics saying it is a measure to gag civil society groups.
  • Just one senator voted against the legislation.

Zimbabwe’s upper house of parliament has approved legislation that critics say will gag civil society groups, placing them under the threat of harsh sanctions and strict government control.

The senate voted late Wednesday in favour of the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill, which needs to be ratified by the president before passing into law. The text sailed through the country’s other chamber of parliament, the National Assembly, late last year.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the law was a “necessary measure to improve the administration, accountability and transparency” of charities working in the country.

He accused some of “directing money to favoured political parties.”

“We cannot run the risk of charities of a public character being used as a cover for theft, embezzlement, tax evasion, money laundering or partisan political activities,” Ziyambi told the senate on Wednesday.

Rights groups and opposition parties complain of an increased government clampdown on dissent as the country heads towards general elections later this year.

READ | Protesting Zimbabwe health workers could face jail after new law passed

The bill bans civil society organisations from engaging in politics and allows the state to interfere in their governance and activities, such as making changes to their internal management and funding.

Those found in breach of its provisions risk up to a year in jail and the closure of their organisation.

‘Obscene’ law

Only one senator voted against the law. The chamber is dominated by the ruling ZANU party, with the main opposition group – the Citizens Coalition for Change – holding no seats.

The lone dissenter, Senator Morgen Komichi, called the bill “obscene”, saying NGOs provide key support in areas including health, education and food security.

“Zimbabwe is a country that does not have a strong economy which can cater for every Zimbabwean,” Komichi said.

Critics argue that the law’s broad scope risks de facto criminalising the activity of any organisation disliked by the government.

Some warned it could lead to drastic cuts in foreign aid, which comes through non-governmental organisations, and is estimated to be Zimbabwe’s third-largest revenue stream.

READ | Zimbabwe debuts gold coins as currency

Prominent journalist and activist Hopewell Chin’ono, said on Twitter the “draconian” legislation was similar to an apartheid-era law in South Africa that barred certain civil organisations from receiving foreign aid or funds.

“This is the lowest any modern state can get to. Especially a state that was born through struggle for freedom, independence and democracy,” Peter Mutasa, director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a civil society umbrella group, told AFP.

“We never expected that we could sink this low”.

Up to 18 000 people working for non-governmental organisations in the country risk losing their jobs, he said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017, faces widespread discontent as he struggles to ease entrenched poverty, end chronic power cuts and brake inflation.


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Zimbabwe approves ‘draconian’ law targeting civil society – Modern Ghana

Zimbabwe’s upper house of parliament has approved legislation that critics say will gag civil society groups, placing them under the threat of harsh sanctions and strict government control.

The senate voted late Wednesday in favour of the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill, which needs to be ratified by the president before passing into law. The text sailed through the country’s other chamber of parliament, the National Assembly, late last year.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the law was a “necessary measure to improve the administration, accountability and transparency” of charities working in the country.

He accused some of “directing money to favoured political parties.”

“We cannot run the risk of charities of a public character being used as a cover for theft, embezzlement, tax evasion, money laundering or partisan political activities,” Ziyambi told the senate on Wednesday.

Rights groups and opposition parties complain of an increased government clampdown on dissent as the country heads towards general elections later this year.

The bill bans civil society organisations from engaging in politics and allows the state to interfere in their governance and activities, such as making changes to their internal management and funding.

Those found in breach of its provisions risk up to a year in jail and the closure of their organisation.

‘Obscene’ law

Only one senator voted against the law. The chamber is dominated by the ruling ZANU party, with the main opposition group — the Citizens Coalition for Change — holding no seats.

The lone dissenter, Senator Morgen Komichi, called the bill “obscene”, saying NGOs provide key support in areas including health, education and food security.

“Zimbabwe is a country that does not have a strong economy which can cater for every Zimbabwean,” Komichi said.

Critics argue that the law’s broad scope risks de facto criminalising the activity of any organisation disliked by the government.

Some warned it could lead to drastic cuts in foreign aid, which comes through non-governmental organisations, and is estimated to be Zimbabwe’s third-largest revenue stream.

Prominent journalist and activist Hopewell Chin’ono, said on Twitter the “draconian” legislation was similar to an apartheid-era law in South Africa that barred certain civil organisations from receiving foreign aid or funds.

“This is the lowest any modern state can get to. Especially a state that was born through struggle for freedom, independence and democracy,” Peter Mutasa, director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a civil society umbrella group, told AFP.

“We never expected that we could sink this low”.

Up to 18,000 people working for non-governmental organisations in the country risk losing their jobs, he said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017, faces widespread discontent as he struggles to ease entrenched poverty, end chronic power cuts and brake inflation.

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Zimbabwean pastors flee ministry to join more lucrative care work in … – Baptist News Global

Zimbabwe is blighted by a fearsome 240% inflation rate, one of the world’s highest. The nation’s pastors, although dedicated to the calling of Christ’s work, are struggling to eat or pay bills just like their impoverished congregants.

“We can’t dance in front of the pulpit and hide our poverty. I don’t feel bad for leaving my congregation,” said Tinaye Tangwena, 45, a former evangelical pastor who served congregations for 15 years in Zimbabwe. He now lives in Watford, England, 7,600 miles away from his home in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is a former colony of the UK, where there is strong demand for care workers, ambulance drivers, social workers, doctors and nurses partly due to the UK leaving the European Union and the staff burnout in England hospitals over the last two years. In Zimbabwe, where electricity is short, salaries for civil servants can be as low as $100 a month and emergency medication in public hospitals is usually absent.

Seeing their congregations flee poverty, pastors also are immigrating, dumping the pulpit for nursing home care work in England.

Thus, dire poverty and the lure of a better life are driving thousands of Zimbabwe’s nurses and care workers to decamp to the UK. Seeing their congregations flee poverty, pastors also are immigrating, dumping the pulpit for nursing home care work in England.

“I’m not shy to quit being a pastor, immigrate and become an elderly care worker in the UK,” said Silas Gatsheni, a Baptist pastor from Zimbabwe who has just arrived to work in a nursing home in Liverpool. “I know 10 Zimbabwe pastors who have arrived here in England to become care home workers in 2022. As the Bible says, it’s an exodus.”

Baptist News Global has reported in the past on escalating emigration from Zimbabwe as difficulties mount in the country. Average salaries for care workers in the UK generally come to $28,000 a year. This is a fortune for Zimbabwe emigres like Gatsheni. So, despite having a relatively small population of 15 million people, Zimbabwe has become one of the top five countries of origin whose nationals are getting work visas to the UK.

“Ministering, leading Christ’s followers as a pastor must not become financial slavery,” said Dana Sakadzo, a Pentecostal pastor in the UK who also left behind 10 years of ministry and his congregation to become a janitor in a nursing home in Glasgow, Scotland.

Sakadzo breaks down the math of survival. Pastors in many Zimbabwe churches don’t get formal salaries; they get by on congregations’ generosity and tithes because in Zimbabwe there’s a societal attitude that being a pastor is a “calling” and not a salaried profession. For a few pastors who get formal salaries in elite churches in cities, wages are as pitiful as $300 a month. In the rural areas, pastors live in even more precarious situations and are paid not in cash but by gifts such as live chickens.

“I used to care for people’s spiritual needs in Zimbabwe, now I care for their health in the UK.”

“Back in Zimbabwe, we couldn’t make proper breakfast or pay electricity on a pastor’s salaries or tithes,” said Sakadzo, who trained as a nurse in Zimbabwe before quitting to become a pastor in the early 2000s. “I used to care for people’s spiritual needs in Zimbabwe, now I care for their health in the UK.”

In Zimbabwe, most pastors already held professional qualifications such as mechanics, nursing and teacher diplomas well before they became pastors, said Dean Moloi, a trained nurse, who served as a pastor in Zimbabwe 10 years. “It’s terrible back home, and the congregation would go for three months without paying me a salary.”

He reverted to his midwife qualifications and has now found work in Leicester, England, at a public hospital.

But some of these pastors believe they haven’t left the ministry. In addition to serving the medical and social needs of clients, they have opportunities to start churches.

“I don’t see pastors’ immigration as a complete loss to Zimbabwe. Here in the UK, we get a chance to open new congregations and serve the Zimbabwe diaspora,” said Gatsheni, who works in a nursing home.

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