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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 16 FEBRUARY 2021 VOL 47 NO 21

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 16th February, 2021

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRPERSONS OF PORTFOLIO

COMMITTEES

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has made the following appointments; Hon. Dr. Nyashanu to serve as Chairperson of the

Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Hon. W. Shamu to serve as Chairperson of the Portfolio

Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade – [HON.

MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. BITI: I rise on an urgent take note motion on a matter of public importance.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Perhaps before you proceed, let me find out whether there is any notice of motion.  Technicians assist me here to see whether there is anyone with a hand that has been raised.

HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, I rise on a matter of national importance which is in connection with COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan.  As you are aware, our country is ravaged by COVID-19 and as I am talking to you right now, over 1 300 Zimbabweans have perished unfortunately.  May their souls rest in peace.  Hon. Speaker Sir, the only permanent solution to COVID-19 and the virus apart from the masks we are putting on, the sanitisers we are having, the test which we are having including the ones we had this morning to enable us to come to this august House, is the rolling-out of a programme of COVID-19 vaccination.  As Hon. Members, we are concerned about the absence of a national COVID-19 vaccination roll out plan.  In particular, there is uncertainty on the following issues;

Which drug is Zimbabwe going to register. The issue of registration is not a question of politics but science determined by one board alone in Zimbabwe, namely the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.  So the registration of these drugs is very important.  We are concerned that there is evidence that the country has brought in whether by donation or purchase, a vaccine from China.  That vaccine that we have been given which is the China Covax drug which is different from the one brought into this country; the drug that has been brought into this country has not been approved by WHO but is still undergoing tests and more importantly, it has not had a peer review.  This drug has been used in other countries and the highest efficacy rate it has had is 75% whereas all the other drugs that are now in wide use - Astrazaneca, Modena,

Pfizer, the Russian Sputnik 5 or Gamalia drug all have an efficacy of 95%.  So we appeal that the leadership own Covid-19 vaccines should not be provided by politics but by science and scientists, in particular the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.

Secondly, the logistics of these drugs; nurses need to be trained,we do not see evidence of that.  Nurses and hospital staff need to have PPEs in order to administer these drugs, we do not see evidence of that.  Third, these drugs require massive extreme temperatures, some of them need refrigeration facilities of as low as minus 70 degrees, the Modena drug for instance.  I know that the current Chinese one requires lower temperatures of around 2 degrees but you need massive logistics and we need evidence of that.

Fourth is the distribution plan of who is going to get these drugs first.  Surely, health workers and those living with vulnerabilities and disabilities must be priority and we need to see that.  So we ask through you Mr. Speaker Sir, that the esteemed Minister of Health comes and present a report in Parliament on COVID-19 vaccination plans so that

Zimbabweans are saved.  More importantly, in view of the fact that the

Minister of Finance did not budget a single cent in the Blue Book for the 2021 Budget for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, we would require the Minister of Finance khathesi to lay out a programme on how he intends to finance the purchase of these COVID-19 vaccines.

WHO has got a programme called Covax which is a fund in which many people and many countries have put in funds to assist developing countries such as ours.  We need an assurance that the Government of Zimbabwe has actually made an application for financing and provision of free COVID-19 vaccines under the WHO Covax facility.  We also need to know what the country has done in terms of working with other countries; the African Union, the World Bank and the WHO itself in acquiring additional drugs to our country.  So Hon. Speaker, we pray that you direct that the esteemed Minister of Health and Child Care, the Vice President Hon. C. G Chiwenga does come to this Hon. House to give an address on the Covid-19 roll out plan which at the present moment is as absent as it is needed.  I thank you very much Hon.

Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Biti, your observations are quite pertinent and I have been briefed by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. Labode who had indicated to me that there has been some conversation between her and the Hon. Vice President who is the Minister of Health that a ministerial statement be tabled in this august House.  I am assured by the Clerk that the Hon. Vice President should be able to do so either later today or tomorrow if we can fit him in, otherwise definitely on Thursday.  Thank you very much for your observation.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Hon.

Speaker Sir. I stand up on a motion on privilege.  Mr. Speaker Sir, about a month ago when I was presenting on behalf of the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education Report to this House, I raised an issue of concern and that issue was that ZIMSEC which is a parastatal where we have asked as a Committee to have them make presentations to us, have constantly refused to do so and have come back to us and asked us

to only...

THE HON. SPEAKER: I did not hear that part you said you asked them to do what?

     HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: When we asked to

engage with ZIMSEC, so that they can come to either make presentations to us as a Committee or where we have written to them to respond to some of the issues that we are raising as a Committee, he has constantly refused to do so.  The excuse has been that we can only talk to them through the Ministry of Primary and Second Education.  As you know, every other parastatal, we do have a right of oversight over them and the last time I had indicated that I may have to be forced to bring in a motion on contempt by ZIMSEC.  As late as yesterday, Mr. Speaker Sir, we had written to ZIMSEC so that they can give us the Grade 7 results so that we can use them to analyse as a Committee and to make representations to you as part of the report that we are bringing to the House.  I have just received notification from the director right now and he has done exactly what we have indicated that they do all the time, for example indicate that they are not going to give us anything.  We need to go through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.  I think as a Committee, we may and I am now formally bringing contempt of

Parliament charges to ZIMSEC particularly the director. I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: On a point of clarification Hon. Member, who did you communicate with at ZIMSEC?

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Dr. L. Nimbaware who

is the Director of the Zimbabwe School Examination Council.  Like I am saying to you, it is not the first time, I personally called him and explained to him that as a Committee, when we request for information, they are obliged to come back to us directly.  I am beginning to just feel that this is a position where they have just decided that they will not deal with us as a Portfolio Committee and that he will continue to refuse to provide information when requested.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you communicate with the Chairperson of ZIMSEC?

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: No.

THE HON. SPEAKER: It was his authority, Prof Mwenje from

Bindura University, it is his authority...

       HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Unfortunately he

himself as Chairperson has not also come back to us when we wrote to him specifically as Chairperson to explain to us what the issue is. So we continuously have these rude responses from this gentleman.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I am trying to bring across the issue of protocol.  The key person here is the Chairperson of ZIMSEC; he is the one who must direct you to the director who is the functionary person under the Chairman.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I stand guided, Mr.

Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I think you must write to the Chairperson

Prof. Mwenje and copy that to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and the Permanent Secretary.

     HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you I stand

guided.

THE HON. SPEAKER: If they do not comply, then we can charge them with contempt of Parliament.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker

Sir.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  We went through our test today and I applaud the move by Parliament to ensure that Members of Parliament are safe.  It was a test which has been out ruled, the rapid results test is no longer accepted; That is why when we fly out of the country, we use the PCR where there is a laboratory.  I was concerned when I got there that it was rapid results.  I have about 200 kits at home; they have been proven not to work and are not the basis of detecting COVID-19.  No wonder why most companies have been told by Government to use PCR as institutions that represent people.  So why would we be subjected to a testing system which has been out ruled because for PCR, the laboratory must be there.  So, whilst we are here, we could all be COVID positive because of the testing measures which have been done.

I have an example on how this country should do things and I am a bit worried that it was not done. I can even donate 200 of those kits to Parliament tomorrow but why then use something which has been out ruled.   Anybody travelling out of the country coming in, they want PCR test with a certificate from CIMAS and any other body which have carried that.  I am a bit concerned that we have been subjected to a testing which has been out ruled whereby you get results there and there and you see the results.  I do not know why they chose that direction when it is not the one and that concerns us more even supporting Hon.

Biti’s point, we need to be very careful even on these vaccines. We now do not know the one coming in, is it the right one or not?  I am quite disturbed Mr. Speaker Sir, and I think the Government took a position of PCR being the only one acceptable.  The PCR itself again some will test positive and negative at the same time, it is not even trusted let alone the rapid results.   I therefore, propose that Members of Parliament go to an authorised facility like CIMAS before we come here and the results are done properly.  We are safe in that regard unless there is something scientific that I am not aware of, I stand to be guided.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you have your sources of veritable

information that the rapid results tests have been outlawed in

Zimbabwe?

HON. T. MLISWA: The source of the information with empirical evidence is that PCR is the accepted result when you are flying out.  You use PCR not rapid results Sir that is true.  You cannot use rapid results when flying out to show that they are not at all trusted, PCR through a laboratory is the only one which is allowed. It is WHO accepted as well.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I hear the explanation you are giving about those who are travelling; you have not answered my question.  My question is, who is the veritable source that the rapid results tests are outlawed in Zimbabwe so that I can follow the matter?

HON. T. MLISWA: Sir, I think you can help and I think it is important for this nation as well to get first hand information.  The Ministry of Health itself, in Norton for example, the factory there was doing rapid results and they were told that they had to do PCR results because they were doing rapid results and they stopped.  PCR is what was accepted by Government.  If Government at all believes rapid results are correct, why then did they come up with PCR as a way to test people flying in and out?  It will be interesting to really get the truth of the matter because you can now help us.  If rapid results are allowed, then we could equally come here and Government does not need to waste money.  We could test ourselves.  For example HIV, the only results accepted are the ones done at a lab not the ones you do at home.  It is something debatable but we now need to understand the position Government is taking.  If it is said rapid results are authentic, then we will be able to also use them and it is also cheaper. PCR is $60 and Rapid is $30.  It can even be better for the people on the ground to have a cheaper way of going through the tests.   So clarity is sought with your leadership.  It is important for that clarity to be done because people would save a lot of money.  Most people cannot afford $60 but $30 they can afford.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you for the explanation.  I will engage the Ministry of Health to ascertain what you have said.  If the Hon. Minister of Health comes this afternoon, I think it would be good to raise that question immediately before him so that clarification can be sought.  As far as Parliament is concerned, we did not receive anything to the contrary in terms of the rapid results tests but where you have got symptoms that had been indicated by WHO and our regulations, the rapid results tests may not help.  You would rather go to Lancet or CIMAS laboratories to ascertain those symptoms; but if you are feeling fine and so on, the rapid results tests may simply affirm that there is nothing untoward.  Let me investigate further with the relevant Ministry so that we give comfort to the Hon. Members.  As you rightly said, sometimes you can test negative and depending on your social intercourse within 24 hours you may test positive.  So the variant of this disease is very unpredictable in terms of social intercourse.

*HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to congratulate some of our Hon. Members who were elected by His Excellency to ministerial positions.  When someone does something good, we have to appreciate that.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to congratulate Hon. Matsikenyere and Hon. Maboyi who were elected to be Ministers and have taken their oaths that they are committed to discharging their duties diligently for the country Zimbabwe.  We have been honoured as women of Zimbabwe and I say to His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, thank you.  His Excellency should continue with this spirit of promoting hard working women.  The female MPs were Members of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.  They are hard workers and they will not let us down.  There are issues that we were saying need attention for the past two and half years.  We hope the Hon.

Ministers are going to attend to those issues.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am one of the long serving Members of the Public Accounts Committee and I would like to congratulate the following Hon. Members:  Hon. Mhona, Hon. Matsikenyere and Hon. Maboyi.  They also served the Public Accounts Committee.  I have consulted with the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and we feel honoured as a Committee, that our work is appreciated.  We look forward to the elected Members to continue with the good spirit.  Hon. Paradza was a Member of the Expanded Budget Committee since last year and we would like to congratulate him also.  I thank you Mr.

Speaker Sir.

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mpariwa but you only congratulated female Members – [HON. MPARIWA:  I congratulated all the Members.] – Including Hon. Mhona? – [HON. MPARIWA:  I congratulated them all.]  That was good.  Thank you.

I made an administrative slip not intentionally.  The last time we met here to adjourn the House, because we wanted a review of the lockdown regulations. After that, we lost Hon. Singo from Matabeleland South.  We should have observed a minute of silence inasmuch as we did a minute of silence for the Hon. Members and others outside this House who had passed on and those who had passed on in hospitals and in the privacy of their homes.  Can we observe a minute of silence for Hon. Singo.

Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

May her soul rest in eternal peace and I want to thank Hon.

Misihairabwi for bringing this to my attention.

Hon. Kazembe Kazembe is the Acting Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and also the Acting Leader of Government Business.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL

HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 15 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 16 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN

AFFAIRS COMMUNITY AND SMES DEVELOPMENT ON THE

CONSOLIDATED BUDGET PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR

MINISTRY

HON. MADIWA: I move the motion in my name that this House take note of the report on the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs Community and SMEs Development on the Consolidated Budget

Performance Report for Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and

Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Third Session, Ninth Parliament, November 2020.

HON. CHINGOSHO: I second.

         HON. MADIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am going to present a report on the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs

Community and SMEs Development on the Consolidated Budget

Performance Report for Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and

Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Third Session, Ninth Parliament, November 2020.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am going to give a Consolidated Performance

Budget Report for the Ministry of Women Affairs ordered in terms of Standing Order No. 159.

        Introduction

         The Constitution of Zimbabwe mandates Parliament to have oversight of all State revenues and expenditure in order to ensure financial probity in the utilisation...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say you are presenting the

report in terms of Standing Order No. 169?

HON. MADIWA: 159,  I did not go through the provisions.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say Standing Order 159?

HON. MADIWA: Yes, 159 which says, at the commencement of

every session, there shall be as many committees to be designated according to Government portfolios as the Standing Rules and Orders may deem fit and it shall be the function of such committees to examine expenditure administration and policy of Government departments and other matters falling under their jurisdiction as Parliament may, by resolution determine. (3) The Members of such committees shall be appointed by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee from one or both Houses of Parliament and such appointments shall take into account the express interest or expertise of the Members and Senators and the political and gender composition of Parliament.

THE HON. SPEAKER: What I have here is not what the Hon.

Member has referred to.  It has to do with Bills returned with amendments.  The Clerk of Parliament will help you to correct that Standing Order.  You may proceed.

      HON. MADIWA: The Constitution of Zimbabwe mandates

Parliament to have oversight of all State revenues and expenditure in order to ensure financial probity in the utilisation of public resources.

Section 119 (3) of the Constitution states that, “all institutions and agencies of the State and government at every level are accountable to

Parliament.”

Section 298 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides inter alia, that there must be transparency and accountability in financial matters. It gives prominence to the fact that public funds must be expended transparently, prudently, economically and effectively. In addition, financial management must be responsible, and fiscal reporting must be

clear.

Section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe obliges Parliament to

“monitor and oversee expenditure by all State institutions in order to ensure that all revenue is accounted for, all expenditure has been properly incurred and any limits and conditions on appropriations have been observed”. This is further buttressed by provisions in the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] which regulates the management of public resources. The Act seeks to ensure transparency, accountability and sound management of the revenue, expenditures, assets and liabilities of ministries, constitutional entities, statutory funds and designated corporate bodies and public entities. Sections 32, 33, 34 and 35 of the PFMA compel ministries to submit monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements and accompanying reports to their respective portfolio committees. The idea behind these provisions is for Parliament to monitor use of public resources in line with its financial oversight functions.

         2.0     REPORTING FRAMEWORK

Having realised that not all ministries were complying with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] relating to submission of monthly, quarterly and annual reports to the legislature as provided for in law, Parliament in 2016 came up with a reporting guideline. It had been observed that where ministries complied, the majority of reports were mostly financial in nature with very little information provided on outputs, outcomes and impact arising from the financial resources expended. The reporting guideline spells out the content of performance reports with particular emphasis on performance budgeting, which has been the missing component.  The guide borrows heavily from the Public Service Accountability Monitoring (PSAM) rights-based approach on social accountability monitoring framework, which focuses on the entire public resource management system of the State. The PSAM conceptual approach is based on the premise that there are five basic interconnected processes through which States manage public resources to deliver services that realise the socio-economic rights of citizens as illustrated below:

 

 

1: Public Resource Management processes

 

 

The World Bank (2004) asserts that these five processes, although distinct, are interconnected in such a way that failure on one process can weaken the whole service delivery process in this integrated social accountability system. Each process therefore forms part of a chronological sequence and the ineffective implementation or weakness of one process has a knock-on effect on other processes, resulting in the weakness of the overall system. Strategic planning informs resource allocation on the amount and area where resources are needed. After this, expenditure management follows where-in there is tracking of expenditure in the context of fiscal discipline, efficiency, effectiveness and value for money.

Performance management focuses on implementation of planned activities in an effective, efficient and responsible manner where-in officials perform their responsibilities and supply products and provide services in conformity with interests of satisfying citizens needs and rights. During processes 1 to 3, effective measures should be carried out with the objective of identifying and preventing conflicts of interest and any other act of corruption in the use of public resources and implementing corrective measures to deal with poor performance and abuse of public resources (Public Integrity management). Oversight is the more comprehensive of all as it ensures verification of conformity of acts, documents, legality, and efficiency of all other processes and thus is happening throughout the cycle. It is only after Portfolio Committees receive reports with such detail that they can be able to effectively play their constitutionally mandated oversight function.

The Committee on Women Affairs, Community, Small and

Medium Enterprises Development (Herein after referred to as the Committee) received the first, second and third quarter reports of the

Ministry and analysed them, with technical assistance from the Parliament Budget Office. The analysis checked compliance with the reporting guideline and the PFMA reporting standards.

COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE THREE

REPORTS RECEIVED

The Committee noted that the Ministry of Women Affairs Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development policy priority areas for 2019-2021 augur well with the Ministry’s

purpose in life. These are:

  • Finalisation of Community Development Policy;
  • Implementation of the Broad-Based Women’s Economic

Empowerment;  

  • Facilitate financial inclusion and access to markets for women’s products;
  • Implementation of the National Gender Policy Implementation

Strategy and Action Plan and National Action Plan on Ending

Child Marriages;

  • Implementation of the 4Ps campaign (Prevention, Protection,

Participation and Programmes) on ending GBV and Anti-Domestic

Violence Council Strategies Plan;

  • Capacity building of SMEs in Business Management Skills and other technical skills;
  • Training and capacity building of cooperative officers and cooperators.

The Committee also noted the Ministry’s policy priority areas for 2020 which are:

  • Dissemination of the Implementation Strategy for the National

Gender Policy;

  • Finalise strategy on Women in Decision Making;
  • Implement the National Action Plan on Ending Child Marriage;
  • Hold awareness campaigns on GBV;
  • Funding of Women’s groups through the Women Development

Bank;

  • Training of women on simplified trade agreements into vernacular languages;
  • Commemoration of 16 Days Against Gender Based Violence;
  • To finalise the Community Development Policy;
  • To refurbish 2 x National Training Centres and renovate

Community Based Centres for Skills and Entrepreneurship

Development;

  • Devolution awareness campaigns; and
  • To increase income and growth of MSMEs.

The Committee noted with satisfaction that the reports made reference to the strategic plan which is an overview of its planned activities and targets for the year. The Ministry linked its programmes to its strategic plan. The link between planned activities to the ongoing broad macroeconomic policies such as the Transitional Stabilisation Plan,

Sustainable Development Goals and other cross cutting issues such as gender among others is very clear. This helped the Committee to adequately assess the performance of the Ministry in the context of the broader socio-economic goals.

The Committee also noted that the Ministry was allocated ZWL

503 976 000 (Inclusive of retention funds) in the 2020 Appropriation

Act. The resource allocation is for three programme areas namely;

Policy and Administration (10.62%); Women Empowerment, Gender Mainstreaming and Community Development (30.84%) as well as Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development (58.54%).

The Committee also noted that the Ministry staff establishment is 2 290 following the transfer of Incubation Services Unit to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development with effect from 2 January 2020. The transfer of the Unit left 40,3% of its established posts unfilled. Women constitute 48% of the total employment in the Ministry. At decision making level, the Permanent Secretary, Chief Director and other Directors are males except the Director Gender. The rest of the women at decision making positions are on acting capacities, giving a bad example from the Ministry responsible for gender equality and equity. The Ministry conducted interviews for the Community Development Coordinators for

Matabeleland North and South Provinces to fill 56 Community Development Coordinators.

The Committee noted with concern erratic releases of the allocated funds especially for programme 3 which impedes the ability of the Ministry to deliver its mandate as indicated below:

  FIRST QUARTER % RELEASE SECOND

QUARTER %

RELEASE

THIRD QUARTER % RELEASE
Programme 1: Policy and Administration  54 72 79

 

Programme 2: Women

Empowerment, Gender

Mainstreaming and

Community Development

10 49.9 97
Programme 3: Small and Medium Enterprises and

Cooperative Development.

6 17.6 21

The Committee also noted that despite assertions by the Hon.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development when he presented the Mid Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement on 16 August 2020, that overall average utilisation of Votes was 46% as at June 2020 which did not warrant the need for a supplementary budget. This was caused by the miniscule releases by Treasury and not in the absorptive capacity of ministries. The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development is reported to have utilised 25% by June 2020 yet the Ministry’s second quarter report indicates 33.8%.

The Committee is concerned with the imbalanced releases by programme and sub-programme.

Programme 3 had a cumulative release of 21% by 30 September while sub-programme 1.1 (Ministers and Permanent Secretary) had exceeded the budget of ZWL$6.5m by 4.96% and 41.38% by the end of the first and second quarter respectively. This constrains the ability of certain departments to achieve their mandate while others flourish. The net effect of channelling little resources to these sub programmes on the socio-economic landscape of the citizens of the country is immense. It is also worrisome to note that releases towards ministries programmes are erratic while releases towards employments costs are guaranteed. One therefore wonders why employees are being remunerated if they are not given the resources to do what they were employed to do.

The expenditure report is not compliant with Section 36 of PFMA which stipulates that, “the actual expenditure should separate capital and recurrent expenditure for that period.” The Ministry is reminded to report in line with provisions of the PFMA.

The Committee noted with appreciation that the approved budgets of $20m, $100m and $15m for the Women’s Development Fund, Women’s Micro-Finance Bank and Community Development Fund had been released in full by 30 September 2020. However, for SMEDCO only $40m of the $90m was disbursed.

The Committee acknowledges that most of the targets the Ministry had set itself to achieve were not achieved due to the combined effects of erratic releases and the COVID 19 pandemic associated lockdowns.

The Committee noted that the Ministry is constrained by lack of vehicles. The Ministry had planned to purchase a total of 14 vehicles from the 2020 annual Budget. Currently, the Ministry managed to procure seven vehicles and is awaiting funding from Treasury for the purchase of the remaining seven vehicles.

The Committee wishes to comment SMEDCO for observing compliance with regards to reporting. The Committee received the entity’s strategic plan, submitted in line with provisions of Section 22

(4) (a) (i) of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act.

The Committee also received the 2018 SMEDCO Annual Report and awaits the 2019 Report. In 2018, the corporation recorded a total income of $2 138 068 in comparison to $1 285 653 in 2017.  However, it incurred a total comprehensive loss of $415 811 for the year ended 31 December 2018. The corporation however managed to grow its loan book to $4,685,529.  Interest income increased from $327,608 in 2017 to $991,346 in 2018. Other related fees, charges and operating income grew from $265,092 in the previous reporting period to $483,162 in 2018. The capacity to lend was supported by the disbursement of funding from the Treasury as well as local lines of credit that were secured by Treasury Bills released to recapitalise SMEDCO of

$15million at the end of 2016.

The Committee noted that SMEDCO’s costs were pushed up by filling some of the posts that had remained vacant during a period of limited activity, the adoption of International Financial Reporting

Standard 9 (IFRS9) reflective of the higher risk of the sector that the institution serves and other operating costs. Four million nine hundred and ninety one thousand eight hundred and fifty three dollars was disbursed to 409 MSME clients in 2018. This helped to sustain 1,910 jobs and create 521 jobs. This was an increase from 2017 where 1,774 jobs were sustained and 148 jobs were created. The corporation’s disbursement to women-owned enterprises was $1,697,894 representing 38 % of the total disbursements in 2018 in comparison to 28% in 2017.

The Committee observed that the Gender Commission adhered to

Section 323 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which requires every Commission to submit to Parliament, through the responsible Minister, an Annual Report describing fully its operations and activities. The

Zimbabwe Gender Commission accordingly submitted its Fourth Annual

Report to Parliament and the report was duly tabled in this august House.

The Committee invites this Honourable House to note that, according to the Gender Commission Annual Report, “Gender insensitive socio-cultural, economic and political practices continue to thrive in the Zimbabwean society, which has remained predominantly patriarchal. Attitudes, norms, practices and expectations propagating violence and discrimination against women and girls prevail. Sexual harassment in the workplace, educational institutions, churches, homes and public spaces continues unabated. Most communities are still trapped in primitive and often barbaric socio-cultural and religious practices such as forced marriage of which child marriages tops the list. Cyber bullying and stereotyping are too common. In most cases, the society turns a blind eye to women and girls suffering under gender oppression. Even though the challenges are many, real commitment to meaningful gender equality largely remains insufficient”.

The Committee observed that gender imbalances in political participation and representation of women in leadership and decisionmaking accounts in part to lack of transformation. The steadily deteriorating economy of the country laid bare the complex gender dimensions obtaining in a heavily compromised macro-economic environment.

The Committee noted and appreciates the progress the Ministry has made in addressing the 2018 Auditor General recommendations. The issue of two of the existing four classroom blocks at Rodger Howman Training Centre being used for storing ballot boxes on behalf of ZEC since July 2013, with no storage fees paid for the warehousing facility however, has not been satisfactorily addressed. The Ministry has engaged ZEC which is still to pay or remove the material.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Treasury should improve on the releases and predictability of resources to the Ministry. Erratic releases impede on the ability of the Ministry to achieve what it set out to achieve. The releases should be balanced by programme and economic classification, or else concentration of activity will be in one department while other departments suffer.
  2. For the 2021 financial year, Treasury should adopt a system of quarterly releases of the operational budget after a Ministry has satisfied all reporting and acquittal requirements. Where possible, capital releases should be once off so as to enjoy economies of scale.
  3. Beginning January 2021, the Ministry of Women Affairs should use the National Training Centre for Rural Women (Jamaica Inn) and Rodger Howman Training Centre to hire out conference and accommodation facilities to NGOs, government departments, development partners and the general public and generate additional revenue to finance development programmes. The current scenario where these centres are used as warehouses for ZEC election material will not in any way benefit women empowerment.
  4. With effect from January 2021, the Ministry’s budget, through

the Women’s Development Bank and SMEDCO should support innovative community-based savings and lending schemes to accelerate women’s economic empowerment activities. Financing should be through revolving funds.  Requirements for one to access the funds should be scaled down without compromising the check systems to ensure repayments. In that regard, a rural women biased system should be adopted instead of a one size fits all system.

  1. The Public Service Commission should urgently accede to the request by the Ministry to engage 28 x Community Development

Coordinators for Matabeleland South Province. The process of engaging

28 x Community Development Coordinators for Matabeleland North Province where interviews have already been conducted should be fast tracked and posts filled by end of January 2021.

  1. There is need for Parliament to give effect to the constitutional intentions, particularly Sections 3 (1) and 17 (1) (b) of the Constitution by formulating legislation that unequivocally makes gender equality provisions of the Constitution justiciable. In that regard, the Ministry should by 30 June 2021 draft the Gender Equality Act, which would ensure gender balance in politics and decision making at all levels especially in respect of local authorities, parliamentary and senatorial seats, the Executive and the Judiciary. The Act should also criminalise disregard of the constitutional provisions on gender equality outlining the attendant penalties;
  2. The Committee also recommends for amendment of section 124 of the Constitution and the Electoral Act by the Ministry of Justice,

Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to adapt to the Zebra system for the House of Assembly, Local Government and for all institutions by 30

September 2021.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Speaker Sir, in light of what I have presented, it is clear that with regular, consistent oversight of the Executive, sustainable resource utilisation can be realised. This has been witnessed in the improved reporting and submission of the Ministry’s financial performance reports. It is therefore imperative that Parliament invests in capacity building of its Members on budget oversight to ensure effective and efficient budget execution.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Madiwa. Right at the

beginning of your introduction, the correct Standing Order should be 17 and not 159.

HON. CHINGOSHO: Thank you Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I crave your indulgence Hon. Chingosho.

Please switch off your microphone.  Thank you.  The Hon. Biti raised a point of national importance concerning our Government’s national strategy vis-a-vis the role out of the COVID-19 vaccine and because of that importance, I crave the indulgence of Hon. Chingosho that he may move the motion to tomorrow and ask the Hon. Leader of Government business to accordingly adjourn the debate.

  THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL

HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday 17th February, 2021.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Before I call upon the Hon. Vice President, may I remind all Hon. Members who are attending virtually that you are attending official sittings of the House and accordingly, you must be properly dressed.  If not, we are going to mute you out of the system accordingly.  I hope this explanation will be adhered to.  Please go by our dress code at all times, including when you are attending your Committee meetings.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

COVID VACCINE DEPLOYMENT AND ROLL OUT PLAN

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH

AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GENERAL DR. CHIWENGA): 

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me brief the House on the COVID Vaccine Deployment and Roll out Plan as we have planned it and implementing it.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the country resulting in 34 949 positive cases and 1 382 deaths as of 11 February 2021.  The high numbers of both positive cases and deaths has prompted the country to plan for the introduction of a vaccine.  The country has already secured 200 000 doses of the vaccine from Sinopham from the

People’s Republic of China which it has graciously donated to Zimbabwe.  This is our first of the vaccines to come into the country which will be administered to priority groups in the country.  I want to hasten to add that from now we will be getting the vaccines regularly, maybe every two to three weeks so that the programme of vaccinating our people does not stop.  In addition, an operational budget to fund the implementation of planned activities is in place and has been shared with Treasury.  The country’s COVID-19 vaccination and deployment plan identifies key areas for successful roll out of the vaccine.

OBJECTIVE OF COVID VACCINATION PLAN

The National Roll-Out, Deployment And Vaccination Plan (DVP) is a guiding document that provides framework for designing strategies for the deployment, implementation and monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccines in the country and ensuring the planned and related financing is well aligned to the Zimbabwe COVID-19 recovery and responses and support plans.  That implementation is fully integrated into national governance mechanisms.

Broad Objective

To enable high quality vaccination services and reduce morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 disease.

Specific Objectives

  • To vaccinate eligible population on a voluntary basis for free.
  • Vaccinate a minimum of 60% of the total population to achieve head immunity.
  • To initiate vaccination through eligible high risk target populations.
  • To provide adequate vaccines and supplies for the activity.
  • To ensure availability of functional cold chain equipment at all levels.
  • To monitor progress, adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs) and provide corrective action.
  • Create demand for immunisation.

Regulatory  Framework

The COVID-19 vaccine is an emergency vaccine registered by MCAZ under Emergency Use Authority.  This is in terms of section 75 of Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act.  We have registered the vaccines now. As you may be aware Hon. Members, we are watching the print and electronic media and they are now about 15 vaccines.  When we get a vaccine which we think is or can be used in this country, it is registered under this section.

The Pharmacovigilance and Clinical Trials Committee will implement vaccine vigilance plans to monitor the safety and electiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine in use.

The vaccine consignment shall be physically verified and cleared by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe upon arrival.  The consignment shall be cleared on the basis of the standard vaccine lot release documentation.

The Ministry will set up and implement the safety monitoring plan to enable swift detection of any Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI).  Lastly, the Ministry is to consider a study to confirm immunogenicity of the product in the local population

Planning and coordination

        Establish or engage an existing committee, a National

Coordinating Committee (NCC) for COVID-19 vaccine introduction with terms of reference, roles and responsibilities and regular meetings.

This we must make sure is done by this Committee.

Secondly, the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) was tasked to spearhead planning and preparations for COVID-19 vaccination.

Thirdly, the National COVID-19 Response Coordinator was coopted into the ICC with the Permanent Secretary being the chair of the committee.

Fourthly, Public Partnership initiatives will be coordinated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Lastly, the Ministry of Health and Child Care will implement effective deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines through the National EPI programme.

Let us now move to the resources and funding:  The total estimated operational budget for COVID-19 vaccination over all phases is US$6 778 777.00.  Here we are talking of the operational budget.  The total cost for Phase 1, Stage 1 is US$1.3 million.

Budget Summary for Phase 1, Stage 1 and for all stages is indicated in the tables below;  Mr. Speaker Sir, we are duplicating the copies so that Hon. Members can have a copy and be able to see some of the figures which I am talking about here as they are tabulated.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Vice President, you may through

your officials, send soft copies to the...

         THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GENERAL DR. CHIWENGA): It

has already been done.

Overall Budget Cost USD
Planning and Training        909,165.00
DSA and lunch for vaccinators    1,442,600.00
Fuel for outreach teams          21,000.00
Preparedness assessments        118,700.00
Support supervision        234,850.00
Coverage survey        200,822.00
Post Implementation evaluation          19,460.00
Advocacy and communication    1,268,450.00
Vaccine distribution          30,750.00
AEFI Surveillance          46,620.00
Data collection and tools    1,216,360.00
PPE    1,200,000.00
Waste Management          70,000.00
Total Cost    6,778,777.00 

 

So  the USD6 million and what it is going to do has been broken down so that Hon. Members can look at it and be able to see what it is all about.  This is because it will start from training and planning right up to the waste management.  Remember we are dealing with a vaccine and from the training to disposal, we have to incinerate all these things after use because we also do not want to be spreaders of the virus.  That breakdown is there. So Hon. Members will be able to go through it.

The breakdown for Phase 1, Stage 1 which I talked about, USD1.3 million will start at the National Planning and Training has got its figure.

Budget Breakdown for Phase 1 Stage 1

Overall Budget Cost USD
National Planning and Training            2,640.00
Provincial Planning and Training          45,480.00
Vaccination        741,577.00
Supportive Supervision        136,364.00
Advocacy and Communication        262,240.00
Logistics Vaccine Supply and cold Chain          14,530.00
Data Management          27,678.00
Total    1,202,831.00 
Public Private  

 

 

Target population for vaccinations

  Population % of population
Phase 1 ( stage 1 and 2) 3 662 279 22%
Phase 2 3 050 855 18.4%
Phase 3 3 050 855 18.4%
Subtotal 9 763 988 58.8%
Total population under 16 yrs 6 795 000 41.2%
Total Populations 16 558 987 100%

 

The total population will be confirmed when the census is done in a year’s time but this is just an estimate.

Target population for Phase 1, Stage 1 which we are talking about; who are these departments and ministries?  We have got the total number and the health workers for vaccination.

Target Population for Phase 1 Stage 1

Department/ Ministry Total
Ministry of Health and Child Care 49000
Ministry of Heath Private Sector  
Zimbabwe Defence Forces 30000
Zimbabwe Prison Service 50000
Zimbabwe Prisons Service and Correctional Centre 13000
ZIMRA  

We have got the health workers for vaccination; Ministry of Health and

Child Care, 49 000 and all these we will vaccinate them. Defence and Security starting with ZDF 4000 and they have 3000 plus of their health workers who are the ones who will be vaccinated.  The Police have got plus 500 health workers who will be vaccinated.  The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services will be vaccinating over 700 health workers.  Besides, these we will be vaccinating all members of ZIMRA and our immigration workers who we term the frontline workers.  There are others who have not been put in this report, the agritex officers under Agriculture and there can be a few who might have been left out but I have just highlighted the major areas which will constitute Phase 1.

Target groups for vaccination – Phase 1 populations at high risk stage one –frontline workers which are health workers, port of entry personnel like ZIMRA, immigration, customs, security and others which I have talked about.  Stage 2 will be those in the vulnerable groups such as those with chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, TB etcetera because you do not want to get this virus while having underlying conditions as it will be very difficult to treat such patients.  The Elderly population people who are 60 years and above.  Prison population and others as well as confined settlements like refugee camps are considered to be in stage 2 as they are likely to get this disease because of staying together in big numbers.  Even some of our urban settlements are not the best settlements we can talk about.  So, we will look at that and make sure that those people are saved.

Going to Phase 2, we are looking at lecturers.  All school staff populations and other staff at medium risk depending with the epidemiological picture of the disease at that time. We will also be looking at how the disease will be playing havoc in our population.

Phase 3 will be the population at low risk which will be the last group.  We have divided our people into three phases but Phase 1 has got two stages which are frontline workers and those with underlying conditions that is stage 1 and stage 2.

Training – development and adoption of training materials for

all activities

The Ministry has arranged trainings of trainers (ToTs) for provincial and district trainers.

Provincial and District trainers will in turn train health workers at service delivery centres.

Exapanded programme on immunisation or EPI will support planning and conduct of the (ToTs).

Online in person and blended learning that is the combination of online and in person which are the most common method which will be used to train staff.

Areas of training to include vaccine storage, communication, surveillance, vaccination and monitoring and evaluation and the AEFI and waste management.

Vaccination Service Delivery

The actual administration of the vaccine will be done at fixed and outreach points.

One to two outreach teams will be allocated per rural district depending on the size of the district with five people per team.  For example, City of Harare will be allocated 11 teams, Bulawayo 4 teams, Chitungwiza 2 teams to deal with the vaccination.  So vaccination teams will require fuel, lunch and daily subsistence allowances. The assumption is vaccination will be conducted over 10 days in the first round and five days in the second round.  You might be asking why 10 days first – it is because our staff is still learning and obviously when you are starting something you have not yet learnt the tricks and by the second round we think they will be more experienced and they will do it faster because we want to deal with this thing as fast as we can because the faster we go means our people will be given the necessary antibodies and that their bodies will be able to fight the virus.  Supervisors drawn from head offices, provinces and districts will monitor planning, implementation and outcomes.

Let me go to the supply chain management, the immunisation supply chain of Zimbabwe consists of 4 levels which are central, provincial, district and service delivery.  Vaccine distribution follows this channel from central vaccine to 10 provincial, 63 districts vaccine stores and then to more than 1800 service delivery facilities.  The central vaccine stores distributes vaccines to provincial vaccine stores, provinces distribute vaccines to district vaccine stores and district to service delivery as well. Distribution of COVID 19 vaccine will follow the existing distribution structure of routine vaccine and supplies.

The vaccine will be received at the airport and distributed to provinces and districts under police escort.  The vaccine distribution flow chart is there. When the documents are out, Hon. Members will be able to follow and we have also put it in a diagrammatic format so that Hon. Members will be able to follow wherever they will be in their constituencies, whether everything is going according to plan.   We also put our delivery vehicles which will be refrigerated so that they are easily identified if they move in the area.

On the supply chain, distribution planning is based on targeted population per province.  We will ensure adequate supply of potent vaccine to all illegible population.  We shall ensure functional cold chain equipment at all levels.  The cold chain we are talking about is from where the vaccine is manufactured, if it has to maintain a temperature of between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius right up until it has been given to the recipients. It must maintain that temperature, that is the cold chain we are talking about. Any variance to that will cause us problems and we want to make sure this does not happen, and this is why the first consignment which came, my Deputy had to go in there together with the head of the Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Finance to see and to be with the vaccine until they got to Harare.  The vaccine had to be taken to NATPHARM to make sure it is within that same range of temperature. So that is what we are talking about when we say the cold chain.

There will be police escorts accompanying Zimbabwe extended programme on immunisation distribution vans, wherever that van travels it will have police escort.   Distributed to provincial cold rooms with capacity of nine square meters under police escort and distributed to districts with cold chain capacity of an average of 200 litres or two to 3 refrigerators; logistical support for vaccine distribution and cold chain management throughout the period from planning to implementation.

Lastly, supply fuel for central level and provincial standby generators.

So, during this period, we want also to make sure and we are working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to make sure that all our generators in all our areas are working in the event that there is power cut because we are also in the rain season. In the event that there is a power cut, the generators must kick off to make sure that we do not spoil and end up losing a lot of vaccines.  The cold chain capacity description is also included, you will be seeing it in your papers Hon. Members which you are going to receive and we have also put pictures of the cold rooms so that you can see where we are going to be keeping that vaccine and the type of equipment which we will use to keep those vaccines.

Information dissemination and advocacy communication and social mobilisation, advocacy meetings and activities to be conducted at all levels. Whilst we do this, we also ask Hon. Members to help in this matter that it is the duty of everyone to make sure that our people are educated.  There will be national vaccination launch to be conducted virtually to rally all stakeholders for COVID-19, social mobilisation done at all levels in order to create demand for the vaccine.  Finally, community mobilisation for vaccination will be conducted via radio, television programmes and announcements; interpersonal communication with target groups, newspaper article and advertisement and social media campaigns, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and bulky SMEs and lastly billboards, banners, posters and board media and crisis communication addressing serious AEFIs.

Let me now come to vaccine safety monitoring and management of

AEFIs and injection safety; in partnership with MoHCC-ZEPI, the

National Pharmacovigilance & Clinical Trials Committee and MCAZ are the main drivers of vaccine safety surveillance.  Covid-19 vaccine safety surveillance will be guided by already existing MoHCC’s

Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) surveillance guidelines and the WHO COVID-19 vaccines safety surveillance manual.  Safety surveillance for COVID-19 vaccine will be further strengthened through additional:

  • Training of national stakeholders and investigation teams.
  • Training of national AEFI committee on causality assessment of adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Training and preparation of health care workers on identification, management and reporting of potential cases of anaphylaxis and ensuring availability of comprehensive emergency tray at all vaccination points. A lot of people might react, just like any other drug.  Some people are given simple stop pain and they react.  Therefore, we have to be prepared to deal with such situations.  That is what is being explained here.
  • The trainings will be provided as part of comprehensive COVID19 vaccine introduction trainings.
  • Instituting active surveillance of Adverse Events of Special Interest following COVID-19 vaccination.

ZIMBABWE AEFI REPORTING

 

Biohazard and immunization waste management

Management of waste related to COVID-19 vaccination requires special attention due to the infectious nature of the virus.  Waste generated from COVID-19 vaccination will be according to the country’s existing waste management guidelines for treatment of health waste.  There will be waste segregation at point of generation following existing protocols.  All medical waste will be incinerated either at point of generation if there is a functional incinerator or at some central incineration point in which case transport will be provided to move the waste to the incineration point.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Development of Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to guide planning and implementation – There will be pre vaccination demographic data collection.  Conduct Preparedness Assessment to assess readiness at all levels.  Development of data collection tools that is tally sheets, summary sheets and vaccination cards, all these will be required to be there.  Consolidation and reporting of the number reached will be done on a daily basis using existing platforms and structures.  Disease surveillance will include AEFI monitoring.  There will be blood collection to determine antibodies before and after vaccination.  Conduct of a Post Campaign Coverage Survey to validate administrative data and conduct a post introduction evaluation to assess the quality of the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and help inform future introductions.

Tentative Timeline of Activities

We started training today and was supposed to have ended today but we will continue to monitor as from today whether other all the other stations have completed their training.  On procurement, the first batch of donations has arrived and the next procurements have already started.  We are making sure that before the end of this month we should have received the other batch of the vaccines.  Vaccine distribution started yesterday and we should go up to the 26th February.  Cold chain inventory is ongoing.  Advocacy, communication and mobilisation have already started and if you watch our electronic media, social media and in our newspapers, this programme is ongoing.  Monitoring and evaluation started and is ongoing programme.  We hope our first job of vaccination will start in two days Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank you Mr. Speaker.   This is what I wanted to inform the House.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Vice President and

Minister of Health.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  Thank you very much

Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am sure you will allow me to thank the Minister for the presentation.  My first question to the Minister and Vice President is to do with the figures that you have given us in terms of the targets, particularly for the first phase.  If you are looking at your frontline workers, you are only looking at the workers not necessarily their partners.  When we look at partners those figures substantially change.  May you explain how it is feasible to just do one person and not necessarily their partner?

The second question is - if the vaccination is really to create head immunity, one does not get a sense that we are hearing of the role of the private sector; that is the majority of your people Hon. Vice President go to private doctors and there is a lot of money in that area.  We are paying medical aid and one does not understand why if one is paying medical aid, CIMAS and all the monies that we are paying and a vaccine is at a cost of $5.  Why are we then asking the Government of Zimbabwe to cover that particular cost instead of creating the head immunity by ensuring that the private sector comes in?  In that line, one is also wondering why as Government we are saying every citizen has to get vaccinated for free.  What is the logic of having somebody who lives in the low density suburb and drives Merc competing for the same vaccine with somebody who is at Mbare or Tsholotsho?   Why are we not clearly demarcating ourselves because our system is very clear, we have the public sector health and the private sector health?  Why are we not creating a situation where those that are in the private sector also go into that vaccination so that we can create a large number of people and deal with the issue of head immunity?  In the presentation, I did not hear anything that speaks to how the private sector is going to be involved.

The third one, the Hon. Vice President indicated that we have 15 vaccines currently.  What is going to happen when the vaccination is taking place?  Are we going to have a situation where we have just a few of those vaccines because you have to do one dose and have a second dose or are we going to have a situation where today we have a Russian vaccine, the Chinese vaccine?  Are there choices to the vaccine that you are having because you cannot have a mixture of the Russian vaccine and have the Indian vaccine tomorrow, particularly in circumstances where you are dealing with pregnant women?  Are pregnant women going to be vaccinated also?  Are there serious problems associated with getting vaccines for pregnant women?

HON. SACCO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Firstly, I would like to applaud the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health for the timely intervention for bringing in the vaccines to Zimbabwe.  My question is around the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19.  There is talk about the use of ivermectin drug which I know has been authorised for investigations to be done around the use of ivermectin for treatment as well as prophylaxis.  Could the Hon. Vice President comment on ivermectin. Can it be used as a drug for human beings and how effective is it?  Thank you.

HON. BITI: I want to thank the esteemed Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care.  I have got four questions for the esteemed Minister.  Hon. Minister Sir, why are you pursuing head count instead of a target of just immunising every Zimbabwean?  Head counting did not work in the United Kingdom and other countries.  So, why is your strategy on head-count instead of just immunising everyone because everyone can fall sick and die? We have lost so many people.

My suggestion is that you must go for a target of immunising every

Zimbabwean.

Secondly, why have you registered Sinopharm?  The Sinopharm drug itself has not yet been peer-reviewed and has not been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  In China itself, Sinopharm is not the dominant drug, the dominant drug is actually Sinovac.  So why are you accepting from China a drug that Chinese themselves are not using?

Thirdly Hon. Minister Sir, I did not hear you utter a single word on

Covax.  Has the Zimbabwean Government made an application for Covax and if so, what is the stage with regards to Zimbabwe acquiring drugs under the Covax scheme.

The fourth question; in view of the fact that the Minister of

Finance and Economic Development did not allocate any budget for COVID-19 vaccinations in the 2021 Budget, what has the Government budgeted for?  In your Statement Hon. Minister, you were referring to a budget of USD6 million, even to buy a herd of cattle in Matebeleland South, USD6 million is not enough.  What is the budget for COVID-19 vaccines that will be sufficient to vaccinate the people of Zimbabwe?  I will stop here for now Sir even though I have many questions.  Thank you very much Hon. Vice President.

HON. MATARANYIKA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker

Sir.  I would want to take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health for such a comprehensive and instructive report.  I had so many questions but they got answered along the way.  So, I am just left with two questions.  The first one Hon. Minister is, I did not hear in your report where you are placing Members of Parliament.  Are they part of the frontline workers or what?

The second one is; if we are considering opening schools, certainly teachers have to be considered in terms of a strategy on how they can also be placed as frontline workers.  I thank you.

        THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon Mliswa, if you have

got a point of order, you rise and you are recognised accordingly so that you can correct whatever you want to correct.

HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I also

want to thank the Hon. Vice President for the comprehensive report.  My question is how effective are the vaccines against the new variant especially the South African one.  I thank you.

     HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA:  Mr Speaker Sir, as I

respond to Hon. Members’ questions, I have got a team of scientists and expects who I will ask when it comes to a particular area where they are required to respond if you may allow me.

If I might start with the first questions asked by Hon. MisihairabwiMushonga.  The frontline workers have got partners, yes.  Everyone who would have come to majority age will have a partner.  That issue we are dealing with people who are going in to handle patients who are affected by this deadly virus.  In the hospital, we have the red and green zone.  Even at the reception, when one comes trying to get the assistance of the doctor the individual does not know whether he or she has been affected by the disease.  It is only after diagnosis that they will recognise that they have been affected by the disease.

So, it is during that time that we need to protect our workers.

Everybody is going to be protected.  Let us get that one clear.  But who

is our first priority?  These wake up everyday but the partner might be working somewhere else.  So the partner has to wash up, mask up, sanitise and social distance to ensure they are safe.  This however does not happen to the frontline worker who is dealing with the people affected.

Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, we are aware of that and everybody will be vaccinated.  It will not take too long but with what we have at the present moment, let us pay attention to those in great danger.  You went further to ask the role of the private sector.  A lot has happened and if I was going to advise the Hon. House what has taken place to date, we would go until midnight.  It was on the 26th that we had a meeting with the corporate sector.  They are involved in this whole programme.

Hon. Biti asked what Government has done.  Government has come up with a budget of $100 million and the private sector has also come up with their budget to contribute towards vaccines.  An account has been opened where the corporate are putting their money and all this is under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.  The corporate sector is cooperating.  However, when it comes to life, life does not know whether you are rich or poor.  You die and unfortunately whether you are rich or poor you do not get up, you are gone.  As I said earlier on that life cannot be bought, we want to make sure that every life in Zimbabwe is saved, no matter the person is rich or poor.  We want that life to be saved.  That is why the President has asked and he chaired the meeting of the corporate sector to find what they were going to do and they came and volunteered their assistance.  They have pledged quite a lot, for instance, some have pledged up to 10000 doses which means they can treat a few of their workers and the rest will be to assist other Zimbabweans.  That is how they are contributing.

Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, every citizen at the end will be vaccinated.  Here what we are saying is we cannot vaccinate everybody even if we had all the vaccines, we cannot vaccinate everybody in one day.  We are saying what is our priority, we have lined up the priority area to say the health or frontline workers, those with chronic illnesses for example if we take two Hon. Members here one is diabetic and one is healthy, we will take the one with diabetes and give him first priority because the healthy one stands a better chance to survive when attacked by the virus.

The 15 vaccines I was talking about are the vaccines that have been manufactured or researched on by various companies or countries. You will find in one country they might have come up with 3 or 4 vaccines. The example that has been given of the People’s Republic of China, they have got more than five, America has got more than  four, they have got Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, - [HON. BITI: Astrazeneca] – no, Astrazeneca is for the British – We look at how those vaccines have been made. I will ask my deputy to explain with the permission from the Speaker. We have got what we call the MRNA, those you have gone into the laboratory but when you go to the attenuated, you actually kill the virus and then make a vaccine out of it.  This is the one we would want because that is the genuine one.  The other one can give you wrong signals in your body.

I will ask my scientist to come on that one so that Hon. Members understand.  The Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe is where we have our experts.  They will look at all the vaccines and say choose the best vaccine for our country not what those people are saying out there, each one saying their vaccine is the best.  If 3 people are saying shirts, you cannot say but Hon. Biti’s shirt is the better one and mine is the best you will say mine is the best.  It is upon us to choose what we want –

[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

So, this will now answer the issue, there are vaccines which we have already been told cannot be taken by pregnant women, so what are they going to do, there are some that cannot be taken by breast feeding women and some that cannot be taken by a person who is under 16.  So, we will try to find a vaccine that will suite our own condition and no one will say my child has died because they have not been vaccinated. I think I have tried to answer Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Hon. Sacco, eva pharma, we have two drugs in there, the other one is for animals and the other one for human beings. This will also be dealt with by my deputy who has more knowledge on it.  The eva pharma we have already authorised it one and a half months ago; the one for human beings because we have two-one for the human beings and the other one for animals.  The one to be used by human beings, we gave it what we call emergency use one and a half months ago and it is being used – [HON. BITI: Zumbani] – zumbani we have asked our university to study it but there is nothing wrong because we grew up taking zumbani when we were kids to treat colds and fl. This disease is in the flu family and if you take zumbani there is no problem.  We have developed interest because we have found something in zumbani which can help and the University of Zimbabwe is looking at that – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – zumbani you can use it but we have found a component which is useful in there.  My deputy will come and explain – [HON. BITI: Ko kunatira!] – keep on doing that it will help you.

Now coming on to Hon. Biti, head count did not start now, it started many, many years ago. The virus is killed under certain temperatures and we have to maintain the desired temperature for the vaccine to be effective.  The vaccine mutates when in the body or when it is passed from one person to the other, that is how it survives, it cannot survive outside the body for long. If we are all vaccinated in this House, this will help our immune system to fight the virus. The 60% is not a number which was stamp sacked, it is scientifically proved.

The sinopharm was approved by WHO and it was attenuated and that is why we chose it.  My deputy is the one who went to get the delivery and we are also taking sinovac because it was approved by WHO.  The Covax, we signed for it they required me and the Minister of Finance to sign and we did that, we also signed the Covax for the AU.  On all the things which can help Zimbabwe, we have done. What we are now waiting for is to see the delivery. What we have said to everyone is, you do not determine the vaccine for Zimbabweans.  It is Zimbabweans who will determine their own vaccine.  That way we will not be given what is not required by Zimbabweans.

Hon. Mataranyika, I can see there are some Hon. Members here who are above 60, so they will get vaccinated.  They will get vaccinated, no problem.  We are aware that Hon. Members would need to be protected. We will not turn a blind eye on that issue.

Hon. Chinyanganya asked about the RSA variant.  We have got three variants which have caused a lot of problems.  There is the RSA which is B11256, the B1.1.1.7 which is the UK one. We have also the variant for Brazil.  These are the ones which are very virulent and infectious.  It does not mean that the South African one kills more than what we had.  The difference is that it spreads very fast and it is a matter that we are looking at – [HON. BITI:  Is it here in Zimbabwe?] – The South African one, of course it is here but we have dealt with it effectively.  We are very happy that you are supporting us with the measures that we have taken and we are also dealing with that matter.  These are the questions that had been asked but Mr. Speaker Sir, I was going to ask the Deputy Minister to respond to two areas; that of Sinopharm and Ivermectin, with your permission.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Vice President.  We have received some questions online and I have indicated to the Deputy Minister while you were speaking that some of them have been covered in your Statement but some people were not listening.  There are few grey areas left.   Hon. Deputy Minister, can you address those areas which have been indicated by the Hon. Vice President.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE

(HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you all Hon. Members for the good questions.  I will address the vaccines issue and I will make it simple.  Vaccines for now are the sure way that we can curb or retard the spread of the SARS-CoV 2, the coronavirus which causes the Covid-19 disease.  Vaccines are made in different ways and people take the virus.  The virus itself has got portions that can be targeted by manufacturers.  It has got its cell wall, the nucleus and all those things.  One can take something that goes into the ribosomal area of the virus like the Modena virus.  Some take the particles on the cell wall and all that. The idea is that the particle when injected into a person will alert the body that the virus is in you.  The body will produce antibodies which are the soldiers of the body to fight infections and in this time in particular, the SARS-CoV 2 virus which causes the Covid19 disease.  These vaccines are made in a manner that some need to be stored in temperatures less than minus 75ºC.  We do not have the capacity, maybe we can go the lowest of 30ºC.  We will say no to those ones for ourselves.

Secondly, other viruses will be kept in the ranges of 2 to 8ºC.  Our infrastructure has been in existence.  We are vaccinating our children for time immemorial.  So the infrastructure for us to use certain vaccines is already there because we have been vaccinating our children for polio and other diseases.  A vaccine that has such characteristics and behaviour will be one of our choices.  What we will also look at any vaccine that we are likely to take should go through phases of studying.

Phase 1, they have looked at 100 people to be given the vaccine and they see the result that it produces the antibody; it does not harm people.  They go to phase 2 where they give a thousand people; they look at it again and do phase 3.  This is what happens before we accept any vaccine in our country.  They have to give us the phase 1, clinical records and studies and we see if it is genuine.  Then phases 2 and 3, we do the same.  We also check to see if they are registered with World Health Organisation and other organisations for peer review to make sure we are dealing with a genuine product.

If you see a vaccine that is here, that has happened.  Our Medicines Control Authority gets dossiers of the vaccine as we require.  Sinopharm has gone through that.  Sinovac and Sinopharm are  two Chinese manufacturers.  Sinopharm is one of the companies and is now being used in China.  Sinovac produces larger quantities and it is also registered.  We are in the process of registering Sinovac right now.  They have given us phase 1, phase 2 and we are waiting for documents for the next phase and they will be registered shortly.  When it comes to vaccines, those people who will have gotten Sinopharm vaccine requires two vaccination times.  If you get vaccinated on the 8th February with the Sinopharm vaccine, we will keep your second dose  for the next 28 days  of the sinopharm vaccine. If we give you Sinovac vaccine we will also keep the dose for you for the next phase. There is also the Sputnik victory from Russia, we will also go through the phases and everything. Covax is a group of vaccines including Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik, Modena, Astrazaneca, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and others. So as a country, we will choose from those and say can we look after it, is our infrastructure compatible with what this vaccine is all about, how long are we going to do it? When we negotiate prices, all those things we look at them but we will not negotiate prices for anything that is less. We will take the best for our people. Vaccines are there and we will choose what is best for our country and we will look at literature and make sure things are okay. For the vaccines, I have tried my best and if there is anyone with a question I will still answer.

HON BITI: What is the efficacy rate of the Sinopharm?

HON. DR. MANGWIRO: The efficacy of the Sinopharm is 76 to

86%. If you go to Astrazaneca, at times it is 10%; it can range up to 92%. You go to Johnson and Johnson, you go to Chile or Argentina; they range from 51% to everything. What we do is to look at the average performance of each vaccine before we take it. We look at those performances very rigorously. We do not take a thing just because it is this. If a vaccine is performing below 50% through and through, the manufacturers will not bring it into the market. When we take a vaccine we would have looked at the performance as well as safety, that is what we do.

I will also answer on how effective it is against the South African variant. I want to say something about these viruses. These viruses mutate on a daily or weekly basis. There is no country that will say everyday they make a vaccine against each mutant. The vaccines we are getting now - for a vaccine to be on the market, it would have been looked at for at least not less than six to eight months. The vaccines we are getting now, the studies started last year using a particular virus that they saw that time. People will start making vaccines according to the variants and we will be following the virus from behind. There is no way we can say UK has this variant, now make the vaccine. It is impossible. You need a year. By the time you finish making the variant that is there now, next year you will have 100 more variants. All what the virus is doing just like human beings, we are all here to pass on our genes – survival. That is your job here on earth. It is to pass on genes. The virus also is trying to survive. As we go along, we will also be saying this variant that we have now, by the next three months maybe it is no longer there. What are you going to do if you had made the vaccine for this one today? It is something that we are scientifically following correctly and working on.

One cannot say that there is a variant in Tsholotsho; is this vaccine going to work - we cannot work like. Every other time there is a mutation. We use what we are doing scientifically during that time. By the time we get to next year, people will be making a variant that they will have found next month in June or so.

Ivermectin is the genuine thing that we have now that can change the course of this disease. Ivermectin is just like what people said about chloroquine, remdesivir, retnovia, alluvia – all antiretroviral. People have said those on antiretroviral will not get this disease. A lot of things are said. Zumbani has been mentioned, kunatira, kufandichimuka - all those things. On ivermectin, what has happened with scientists is that there have been several scientific arguments so that whatever we do we follow science. The argument for ivermectin and its reasons have not been enough to defeat those who say no. Their arguments have not been enough to say this one can be used. It is going to be used on compassionate basis. People who feel that this person deserves the ivermectin, the doctor is given the choice to use it.

What we do when we use medicine is that I read about medicine. For this ivermectin to kill the virus you need toxic levels. It is also anti inflammatory. You can use it for that. Personally, I would say if a doctor has read and says the little information for the use of ivermectin is present in my patient, one can use it on compassionate basis. What we do as professionals is, if you use that medicine which is not allowed or registered, we will take you to task if the patient dies. What happens with the NIH and other big organisations that sit and determine directions the drugs should take, agreed that there is not much evidence for and there is not much evidence against. People said yes it can be

used but the decision is left to a particular doctor. When an untoward event happens then we can also understand to say the patient had massive inflammatory reactions in the lungs, so I used it and people will understand. Right now, I will not go out and say ivermectin is the silver bullet. This is why as a nation we are rushing out to use vaccine because when you get anti bodies to fight the virus, we are going to be in the right direction scientifically. Even zumbani, mufandichimuka, kunatira – I have seen people vachiisa dombo rakatsvuka mumvura inotonhora roputika rokuvadza vanhu kumeso. We need to be careful with some of these inventions. Our inventions and adventure, we need to be careful. I am repeating that the vaccine for now is our proven something that we can be using.

I will look at some of the questions which came online. Is it practical to test the vaccine by our scientists in just 48 hours? Is this not dangerous trial and error with people’s lives? This one I want to correct the question. What I am understanding is that he thinks that the vaccine has to be tested there and there.  This thing when it comes here, it is already tested like I said in those phases and then it has already been proved to be effective and safe. Our Medicine Control Authority people have already looked at the vaccine and its results.  There is no new testing of the vaccine.  We are not here to experiment on the vaccine afresh.  This is not our vaccine, it is something that has already been tested elsewhere and it has proved that it is working.  It has been peer reviewed by others and it has been seen to be effective.  There is no testing of Zimbabweans that is going on with this sino-vaccine.

What is 60% of our population in terms of actual figures? This is about 10 million if we are 16 million.

Minister, is the Inter-agency Committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary already in place? If so, who heads it and is it devolved?  Yes it is there and it is devolved.  Our Permanent Secretary of Health is Dr.

Jasper Chimedza.

Are the reports that people with immune suppression disease like HIV and those on chemotherapy correct that they should not take the vaccine?  I am not sure where the writer got that message from because immunosuppression does not mean HIV only.  Diabetes is a chronic inflammatory disease and it is an immunosuppressive disease.  That is not a correct supposition that people with HIV cannot take the vaccine.

People with diabetes or hypertension and cancer can take the vaccine.  People with cancer have massive immunosuppression because of the cancer – it is an immunosuppresive disease, they can take the vaccine.

Clarification from the Minister of Health that 60% will leave over 5.5 million people vulnerable – why not over 100% say over the next year; I am sure the Minister has already answered that this is a target and that we going to continue vaccinations as we go along even if we can vaccinate everyone, the better.  We need to work with figures and

targets.

What are the timelines of this – I am sure the Hon. Minister said the next batch will come every two to three weeks.  Definitely, the timetable is there.  Wherever you are, if you watch the print media, you will see that every two weeks – for instance at the end of this month, we are going to get about 600 000 doses of the vaccines and we will continue to get this.  It is a continuous stage by stage process that is going on.  We will try to make sure that every Zimbabwean is protected.

The last one is that Hon. Minister, while we appreciate the distribution channel, there is no Government hospital in Mt. Pleasant Constituency while the only council clinic which we had is currently closed as all workers there have resigned. How do you propose to deal with a Constituency which has no functional health facility?  I am sure this one is being handled.  We have many places without clinics and everyone is covered.  What people must know is that most of these council facilities are now under Government.  We have taken over and we will take care of every Zimbabwean whether there is a clinic or not, everyone will be covered. Remember we have fixed places where people will get their vaccine and we have mobile units that will come to your places to have your vaccine given to you.  There is no need to worry too much.

Has there been any pre-trials on this vaccine?  I said that we have had phase 1, 2, 3 – we are not doing any trials, we are actually using the vaccine.  The trials were done by the manufacturers in different areas in their different countries.  We are now treating our people using the vaccine to achieve the targets that have been set.

I think I have gone through all the questions that had been asked.

(V)HON. TOFFA:  On a point of order.  I am not sure if the questions have all been answered. I asked some questions on the chart book and have not been answered.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes they have been answered in the statement by the Hon. Vice President and also by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.

Hon. Mliswa you are the last one because I have seen that most of the questions on line are repetitions.  May you be brief?

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Chakanaka chakanaka mukaka haurungwe as Mr. Speaker says.  I am very impressed with this elaborate delivery.  It was a good lecture for us as

Members of Parliament. Like the Hon. Vice President and the Minister of Health and Child Care said that with such ammunition, we need to go to the ground now.  What is Government doing to ensure that as legislators, we go and talk to our people?  It is resources that hinder us.  How are you going to coordinate that with the teams going on the ground for us to give confidence to the people that what is coming your way is good?  I would like to know how we fit into the teams that you have as Members of Parliament, Councillors and so forth so that we represent the people effectively.

The other issue which is really close to my heart is, what are we doing to put money into our research and development for our own people?  The University of Zimbabwe which you know Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care and Deputy Minister

Mangwiro has a Medical Faculty which is one of the best in the world.  What have we done to give them money so that they also come with their own vaccines for our people?  It is quite critical because one of the experts who work for Pfizer is Zimbabwean.  We have seen many

Zimbabweans in all this.  What are we doing to ensure that our medicine faculty is given resources to come with our own vaccine because the climatic condition and diet differ?  In China, it is different from Zimbabwe and a lot of what we have gone through .....

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, you have made a point – research and development.  What is the next point?

HON. T. MLISWA:  We have got the PCR testing and the rapid results.  Today as Members of Parliament, we went through the rapid results which I said is certainly not recommended.  Which one is recommended because the rapid results that we went through as Members of Parliament is US$30, the PCR is US$60.  Which one do you recommend as the Ministry of Health so that people can then take the necessary test that is required.

Other than that, let me thank you for your swift movement in taking over Norton clinic to become a Government hospital.  I am pretty impressed by the way you work.  It is militant, it is organised and excellent.  Keep up the good work.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I thought Hon. Mliswa was going to ask

a question which he raised under a matter of national interest that is the rapid result test has been outlawed in Zimbabwe.  I said can you confirm that with the Ministry of Health – whether that test has been outlawed.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you very much.  My question for national interest emanates from the rapid result testing we got today and the PCR.  As far as I hear, PCR is no more recommended.

What is your response to this?

(v) HON. DR. LABODE:  Mr. Speaker Sir. I am sorry I am not well, that is why I am at the hotel.  I just want to thank the Hon Vice President for the brilliant report.  I just have a few issues; I would want to suggest, for a public health reason, to galvanise Zimbabweans to move; to vaccinate, you start with legislators.  There are only 300 of them and it is not really a big expense and also 100 of those 300 choose to be vaccinated anyway which is fine.  While our logistic system is perfect and better than none but it may face challenges now because of the rain.  Our roads are not in good order and you will need 4x4s to be able to deliver these vaccines to the most remote areas.  We should also anticipate a challenge with our solar system and ZESA.  Because of the rains, there are a lot of trees falling and so there is a lot of blackouts happening and we cannot afford to lose the vaccine which is expensive.

I noted that you have included private clinics and hospitals as well as people that are going to vaccinate.  We all know that the private sector has not been reporting their statistics for the testing of Covid-19.  So, how do you expect the private clinic to be able to report to you how many vaccines they will have given out?  What is the assurance that they will not charge probably $10 for the vaccine.  If they do charge, then you should sell to them.  I agree with Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga that there is a part of some citizens in this country who should pay. The medical aid should contribute towards this vaccine.  Private companies like Delta surely can afford to pay $2 per worker.  They should just contribute towards the vaccine because the vaccines are expensive.  We need every cent we can get.  I am not sure whether SADC has started galvanising global fund so that we are assisted. We will not cope on our own. Even these donations are minimum 200 000 is nothing compared to what we really need.  So  we should start now lobbying and galvanising more funds from the global cake.  I thank you.

(v) HON. MARKHAM:  Hon. Speaker, my questions may have been covered because I have got poor network. However, I just want to quickly raise three or four issues.  Is there any category of people should that not take the vaccine for example people who have had Covid before, with pregnancies maybe age minus?  Is there any category that cannot be covered by the vaccine?

The second one, is acceptance will be given approval for the moment through the medicine control authority.  My concern is in social media there has not been any adverts.  I get those on the background of two pharmacies and two doctors and  I have three different dosages.  I think that should be cleared up as soon as possible considering the circumstances.

Then on the case of Hon. Banda and the Mt. Pleasant Hospital which is not the only one.  There are three here in the northern suburbs that are closed as we speak and the issue is nurses resigning of which I believe up to 100 have resigned in the Harare province.  The reason maybe none payment and I am certainly not blaming anyone because it could be council or Government.  The none payment of the $75 of the COVID allowance, could that be looked into as a matter of urgency.  My last question is on the tracking of this certain vaccine, do people have to go back to the same clinic as they received the first vaccine?

RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. I

shall ask your indulgence because the voices on virtual were not audible enoughHon Mliswa asked what Government is doing for Hon.

Members to go and explain to their constituencies.  We would like Hon. Members to go and explain to their constituencies but the Level 4 regulations will be followed.  You can gather up to 30 and not more than that.  It can be done in a very systematic manner that you gather your councillors and your business people and all those that matter so they can also pass on the message as they go.  What we would not expect you to do is to have large gatherings because that is where we will have

super spreaders and instead of passing the message, you will be annihilating your next voters.  We would request that Hon. Members follow the current instructions which are there.  You have asked about R & D.  Hon. Mliswa you are quite right but you will be advised in due course.  We are way ahead.  We will not sit and wait for other people to do things for us.  We are also doing our on things and when the time comes, you will be advised.

You also asked about the three tests that are being done that is the PCR test, Rapid and the antigent.  The rapid will give the result immediately but the result does not, in normal cases tell you whether you are positive for COVID-19.  If you have got diabetes you may test positive.  In the case of women, if you are pregnant you can test positive also but it will be detecting pregnancy hormones not COVID-19.   When one tests positive we then go on to investigate further whether the person tested positive to COVID-19 or to something else.  The antigen is much better than the rapid test but the best is PCR. PCR results take about 2 ½ hours and some take about 5 hours but you are assured that the results which you are going to get are the correct ones.   The antigen is much better; if you were tested three days ago and you are required to come here the antigen test will do.

We are aware that it is a matter of life and death and so other people are making good business out of this pandemic. Truly speaking, we should not be paying all those amounts but we do not have a choice, so we end up paying, but sooner or later it will be a thing of the past because they will have no one to test.

I want also to combine questions asked on clinics. We are aware that some clinics have closed because they were badly run but the

Permanent Secretary has been directed to open all clinics and hospitals.  We have started with Norton Council Hospital and Government is now running that hospital.  We are doing that for all the clinics that have been closed.  What is important is the health of people living in a particular area.

Wherever you are as Hon. Members, talk to your provincial medical directors and know the state of clinics in your area, whether there are closed or poorly run.  They might be open but without offering proper services. So you then alert the Ministry of Health and Child Care who will come to your assistance because we want those clinics to be functioning so that people get the services they require.

Hon. Labode, asked about Members of Parliament. I have answered that question. Let me say but I did not want to explicitly say this Mr. Speaker, we take you as our frontline workers because you talk to people everywhere you are.  We are very aware and we will take care of you so that you are looked after.  If this august House collapses then we have the country in trouble.  This also includes quite a number of other frontline workers who are not mentioned here.

In terms of the vaccines whether there will not be abused, they will be counted even if they are given to private practitioners; there has to be accountability. This is not something to experiment on and see how the wrath of the law will visit you. It is better for people not to abuse these vaccines.  We are trying to make sure that everyone survives. Yes, death is there but we must die when it is God’s time and not die because of COVID-19. For one to play around with the vaccines, the long arm of the law will become very short and we will get the individual.   Corporates are paying and an account has been opened. In future with the indulgence of the Hon. Speaker, we might have to ask the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to come and explain to this august House because he is leading in that area of resource mobilization, so he will be able to explain better.  Most of these people either come to my office and I refer them to Ministry of Finance. They are paying, they are contributing quite immensely and as Government alone, we would not have managed if the corporate world was not on our side.

Hon. Markham; again the issue of health staff which is no longer at clinics, I have already answered it.  If one gets transferred, I explained when I was giving my presentation that at the end of the three documents which will be done, the individual will have a card. If the person does not get vaccinated there will be vigorous follow up to see what has happened to that individual. Information will be computerised and the individual will have the card to show that he/she was given a jab.

The person should know the date of the next jab and the individual must go and get that jab.  It will be in the interest of that individual and it is also in our interest to make follow ups on the individual.

I did not get the first question. There is something which I tried to scribble but I ended in between.  I do not know Mr. Speaker Sir, if I have not answered him all the questions he has asked.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I think you have wrapped it up Hon.

Vice President.

HON. RTD. GENERAL DR. CHIWENGA: Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.  I think it goes

without saying that the roll-out National Strategy has been quite intensive and extensive as explained by the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care. The rest of the information, please check your e-mails, you will still be able to see the tables that the Hon. Vice President referred to.  We thank you Hon. Vice President for this elaborate National Strategy in terms of what the Government intends to do.

As I said, there may be one or two questions tomorrow.  If the Vice President is engaged somewhere, the Deputy Minister could be around and answer any further questions tomorrow during Question Time.

         On the motion of THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE), the House adjourned

at Twenty-One Minutes to Six o’clock p. m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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