UN provides $5m for Zimbabwe health workers

The U.N. children's fund UNICEF said on Saturday it had set up a $5 million fund to provide salaries for workers in Zimbabwe's ailing health sector.











Health workers in the southern African country - where many public hospitals have been forced to close due to a shortage of staff, drugs and equipment - have been refusing to turn up for work, demanding salaries in foreign currency.



They recently rejected a government offer of $50 for the lowest paid and $850 for doctors per month.



"I'm pleased to announce today that the United Nations will be providing $5 million for salaries for health workers. We want to provide resources for health care workers so they remain in their jobs," UNICEF executive director Ann Veneman told a news conference in Harare.



"It (the money) is going through a trust fund set up by some of the donors to provide incentives for health care workers to continue turning up for work."



Veneman and UNICEF officials would not give details about how the fund would work, except to say payments would be made to workers through the trust, not the government.



Veneman, who met President Robert Mugabe on Friday, is the first head of a U.N. agency to visit Zimbabwe in three years.



She said a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people was worsening.



"It is still not under control. It's still expanding in some communities. There's an issue of water and sanitation systems, which are old. There's an urgent need to make sure people have access to clean and safe water," Veneman said.



U.N. figures show that 2,225 people have died from the cholera epidemic out of 42,675 cases. The outbreak has piled pressure on politicians to bury their differences and try to ease the suffering of millions.



"The cholera outbreak is the tip of the iceberg. The economy in Zimbabwe is crumbling, with the highest inflation rate in the world above 231 million (percent)," Veneman said.



"Over half the population is receiving food aid, health centres have closed and when the term starts there is no guarantee that there will be enough teachers."



Critics blame the economic meltdown on government mismanagement, including the seizure and redistribution of thousands of white-owned farms.



Mugabe, 84, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says Western sanctions are the main cause of the economic crisis and worsening humanitarian situation.



Political analysts say the establishment of a unity government between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is the best hope of reversing the economic slide and the humanitarian crisis.



But power-sharing talks are deadlocked over the control of key ministries.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher

£120 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: The Humanities Department of this ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Music Teacher

£120 - £180 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Newham Position: Music Start dat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Sutton Position: Science teacher S...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee