CHINHOYI– Ministry of Health top official, Doctor Owen Mugurungi last week pacified the cold war over Global Fund sponsored programs amid suspected forex leakages by senior officials, Zim Morning Post can exclusively reveal.
Mugurungi made apologies on ‘misconduct’ by some officials at Zimbabwe National Counsellors offices who snubbed a four- member team that reached out to Beatrice Dupwa, the coordinator’s offices, on the way forward over outstanding salaries since January this year that should have been in forex.
‘‘Doctor Mugurungi apologised and said he will reprimand the officers who were not caring about our plight. He has made assurances that our forex salaries for the past two months will be effected within 14 working days from Friday last week,” said one of our sources.
The latest move comes amid revelations that Geneva based Global Fund officials will be jetting in the country soon.
A four-member team made headway as their plight has taken too long to be resolved.
‘‘From the onset Mugurungi was clear that health facilitators including counsellors, macroscopics’ among others under Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have not been integrated into health ministry for too long and that has seen them being regarded as second class professionally,” said one of our sources.
Some counsellors have been on contracts which are renewed annually for the past ten to fifteen years.
“Ministry of health district, provincial and national human resources officers were delaying recommendations by Global Fund Geneva based officers who came in October calling Government to pay our salaries in forex. They delayed the forex deposits claiming banks were not forthcoming on the offer,” added another source based in Midlands.
Some sources from Matebeleland, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central collaborated that at least 2000 primary health care counsellors are bitter.
“It is true, top officials are playing hide and seek as we were getting around $280 bond but it was taking over six months to be deposited. When we raised alarm, (Mrs) Dupwa and other officials began witch-hunting,” added another source.
The latest turn of events follows a delayed move when a fact-finding mission team from Switzerland jetted into the country early October 2018 over the ‘salary crisis’
Our sources revealed that UNDP and Global Funs dispatched a delegation to Zimbabwe for verification and inquiry with Government authorities.
Monthly Global Fund programs pay over $900 000 in forex although locally it was being paid through bond notes of late that it could have been manipulated, our sources added.
“Last year UNDP and Global Fund teams met officials from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Health and Child Care. They wanted to know why Global Fund supported staff are being paid by RTGS or bond notes yet UNDP (Global Fund) pays hard currency to Government,” said one of our sources from Manicaland.
It is believed RBZ professed ignorance on how health ministry pays Global Fund supported staff.
“They told Global Fund Geneva delegation that Ministry of Health administers its donor funds independent of RBZ or Finance Ministry. Global Fund Geneva delegation then instructed UNDP offices to make sure all Global Fund supported staff open FCA Nostro accounts to be paid in hard currency,” said a source in Midlands province.
Although workers were ordered to open Foreign Accounts in October when US salaries were due, bottlenecks were developed to frustrate them as nothing materialised.
Dupwa has been accused of misleading her juniors at every clinic around the country claiming her hands are ‘tied up’ over the FCAs.
A memo was leaked last year and Dupwa said she had called one Mr Ntini (Head of finance HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria program) in health ministry concerning the issue of forex.
“Mr Ntini indicated that they are still waiting for Standard Chartered Bank head office to approve the opening of our accounts but it was then Government wanted salaries to be in bonds,’ stated the leaked memo.
According to the memo other organisations made it through offshore accounts.
Dupwa has maintained that they are working out plans to resolve the issues at hand.
“I know we have done our best and salaries will be coming within two weeks, I promise,”was all she could say.
In a move likely to boost health care facilitators, Mugurungi admitted that there was communication breakdown that saw workers left out.
“We have since made an interim committee that will help us reach out at him directly and permanent secretary over our crisis,”said another source.
Health sector is in a coma that has seen doctors revealing that they wash used bandages and there is no medication exposing patients in major public hospitals.