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'US, Zim fights not affecting citizens' – NewsDay

BY MOSES MATENGA

THE United States says it will continue to support the country with humanitarian aid in several key areas including the health sector despite political disagreements with the Harare regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

This was said on Tuesday by US acting Ambassador Thomas Hastings, who is the United States embassy Charge d’ Affaires after a tour of projects supported by the country, including Rujeko Polyclinic and the National Microbiology Reference Lab at Sally Mugabe Hospital in Harare.

Hastings told journalists that the US-Zimbabwe fights were not affecting ordinary citizens.

“I am happy to say that though the US government and the government of Zimbabwe have their differences, those differences really do not get in the way of the health assistance that we provide,” Hastings said.

Harare and Washington had a stormy relationship since the reign of the late former President Robert Mugabe over allegations of human rights abuses and electoral theft. Us slapped Zimbabwe with sanctions as a result of the tiff.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) was enacted in 2001 by the US Senate and amended in 2018, placing certain individuals and companies under targeted sanctions.

However, Zimbabwe has accused the US of meddling in the affairs of a “sovereign nation”, and has roped in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to lobby for the removal of sanctions.

But Hastings told journalists that the US has poured over US$340 million towards health-related support to Zimbabwe.  He said more than 5 000 locals had been benefiting from the Rujeko Polyclinic project.

“There has been tremendous stability from my government in support of health projects in the area of HIV and Aids. The programme is in its fourth President now, from President (George) Bush, President (Barack) Obama, President (Donald) Trump and President (Joe) Biden, and we have continued to support PEPFAR (US President’ Plan for Aids Relief).  We will continue to support interventions in Zimbabwe. Yes, we have our disagreements with the government of Zimbabwe but this is an area where we work together very well.”

He said the US was also putting more effort on the fight against the COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

“The tour was an opportunity for me to see first-hand some of the assistance the US government provides through our Centres for Diseases Control (CDC) in the fight against HIV/Aids. This clinic is an example of the US support all over the country.

“There are 5 039 Zimbabweans living with HIV who receive their treatment here at this clinic, receive their follow-up here at this clinic and if there is need for any counselling it is done here at this clinic as a result of the work that the US government is doing specifically through the partners and NGOs we work with here in Zimbabwe.”

The polyclinic in Harare is supported by the PEPFAR through the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-Zimbabwe).

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'Mthuli must present people-centric budget' – NewsDay

BY VENERANDA LANGA

FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has been urged to come up with a people-centric 2022 National Budget and move away from past practices where the Defence ministry got the lion’s share at the expense of social services ministries.

This came out during parliamentary public hearings on the 2022 National Budget.

Participants said Ncube should prioritise social services such as health and education to enable the country to meet international budgetary allocation benchmarks such as 15% for health in line with Abuja Declaration and 20% for the education sector.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) said given the economic constraints in the country caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, priority should be given to provision of water and sanitation.

This year, Ncube allocated US$65 million of the US$5,14 billion national budget towards social services, which was a measly 1,30%. Zimcodd said social services can no longer be ignored given that a number of people in the country were slipping into extreme poverty.

“Although the situation is expected to ease off in 2021 and 2022, mainly due to better harvests, the slow recovery of job losses will continue to haunt the nation. Citizens have called for more attention to critical areas, and that government should desist from allocating a significant chunk of the national budget to ministries such as Defence as has been the norm, while failing to meet the international budget allocation benchmarks in ministries such as Health and Education, Infrastructure and social services.”

In the previous budget, Treasury dismally failed to offer social safety nets for women, with the Women Affairs ministry getting a paltry 0,512% allocation to cater for 52% of the population in the country, which are women.

In the 2021 budget, the Youth, Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture ministry got a paltry 0,818% allocation (less than 1% of the national budget) and yet the youth constitute 67% of the country’s population.

“It is crucial to reflect over how government will meet both the pressing and immediate demands for improved service delivery while equally putting attention on key economic sectors which should anchor growth and use the gains thereof to reinforce economic resilience going forward.”

Zimcodd said it was worrying that government continued to boast of budget surpluses when citizens were sinking deeper into poverty.

“This extinguishes trust that the budget will ever address fundamental challenges because of government’s inability to accept the current dire economic reality that most of the citizens are living under,” Zimcodd said.

  • Follow Veneranda on Twitter @LangaVeneranda

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Govt exposed over COVID-19 vaccines – NewsDay

BY LORRAINE MUROMO

MEMBERS of the public who were vaccinated with the first jab of the Indian Covaxin COVID-19 jab and failed to get the second dose might be forced to restart the vaccination exercise using Chinese Sinovac or Sinopharm doses.

The development comes at a time when neighbouring South Africa’s drugs regulator South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) on Monday announced that it was not approving an emergency use application for Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 shot for now, citing concerns about its safety for people at risk of HIV.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries that have approved the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.  Russian mining firm, ALROSA, in June donated 25 000 doses of the vaccine and promised an additional 25 000 within months.

But SAHPRA said it had asked for data demonstrating that Sputnik V was safe in settings with high HIV prevalence, but that it had not received enough information to establish that.

“SAHPRA resolved that the … (emergency) application for Sputnik V … not be approved at this time. SAHPRA is concerned that use of the Sputnik V vaccine in … a setting of a high HIV prevalence and incidence may increase the risk of vaccinated males acquiring HIV,” the statement read.

In March this year, Zimbabwe got delivery of more than 35 000 doses of the Covaxin shot which was donated by the Indian government. However, government failed to acquire the second dose, blaming it on logistical problems at the height of the COVID-19 third wave that hit India in May and June this year.

Yesterday, Health deputy minister John Mangwiro confirmed that the country had failed to secure second jabs of the Covaxin, but sought to assure panicky citizens that government did not expect any health complications for taking another vaccine.

Mangwiro said those affected could restart the inoculation exercise using Chinese vaccines.

“Those who failed to get the second Covaxin dose should go to their nearest clinics and get inoculated. They can either get Sinopharm or Sinovac. It’s known that we follow science. There is no danger to their lives. They can also opt to restart the process and receive both the first and second doses of either Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines,” Mangwiro said.

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights secretary Norman Matara said: “Obviously, we cannot tell if there are any complications or not. We don’t have any data to that effect. We have had other vaccines mixed and there were no complications.  So we hope it will be the same with this one (Covaxin). It also points to inefficiency and a system that is weak as well as poor planning on government’s part.”

Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association president Shingai Nyaguse said restarting the vaccination process was unlikely to cause health complications as the Covaxin jab worked in the same manner as Sinovac and Sinopharm.

“Given the long interval since the first dose, it is prudent to restart the process. Of course, people should quickly report to the Health ministry in the unlikely event of adverse effects,” Nyaguse said.

Health expert Cletos Masiya said since it was a donation, government should have purchased the second dose.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said: “It is sad and an unnecessary inconvenience for the government to be urging the people who had willingly come forward to get vaccinated to restart the vaccination process due to poor planning on the part of government without even offering an apology to the affected citizens.”

He said this would result in distrust, adding that it was high time Zimbabwe seriously considered using single dose vaccines.

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Violent Teacher In Court, Blames Student Assault On Stress – New Zimbabwe.com


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By Staff Reporter


THE Harare teacher, Talent Chingwaru, who was arrested last week for assaulting a student appeared in court Saturday and pleaded guilty to the charge.

Chingwaru (29), a mathematics teacher at Harare Einstein Tuition Centre told Magistrate Judith Taruvinga he assaulted the student as he was emotionally stressed due to a disturbing toothache.

He will appear in court this Monday for sentencing.

Prosecutor Shambadzeni Fungura told the court the state was waiting for a medical affidavit to ascertain the level of injuries sustained by the student when he was assaulted last Thursday.

In a video circulating on social media platforms, Chingwaru is seen assaulting the student with a belt, open hands, and head-butting him.

According to the state, the student, in ‘A’ Level was found by Chingwaru watching a movie in an ‘O’ Level class during lesson time. Chingwaru ordered him to go back to his class.

However, the student went to a biology classroom and where he later met Chingwaru again. The teacher confronted him resulting in a heated exchange of words before Chingwaru assaulted the student.

Chingwaru was represented by Advocate Joshua Chirambwe instructed by Mukudzei Moyo

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