Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Legislators on Tuesday demanded to know why Mashonaland East province, the home of Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa, had the highest concentration of village health workers compared to other provinces.
It emerged when pemanent secretary for the ministry Dr Gerald Gwinji was giving oral evidence before the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care that Mashonaland East province had more than 2 200 village health workers while some provinces had as little as 120.
Dr Gwinji was taken to task over the huge disparity.
Proportional Representative MP Dr Ruth Labode (MDC-T) was the first to raise the matter.
Binga North MP Mr Prince Sibanda (MDC-T) echoed similar sentiments.
“How does Mashonaland East have more than double (the number of) village health workers? How did you get to that figure? We want to know factual reasons. Otherwise the next question (we will ask) is who comes from that area? Is it Dr Gwinji or Minister Parenyatwa?. Our concern is on the distribution of resources. There is an unexplained pattern of skewed distribution of resources. The permanent secretary must be able to explain why we have such disparities,” said Mr Sibanda.
Committee chairperson and Gutu South MP Dr Paul Chimedza (Zanu-PF) directed Dr Gwinji to give a specific response after the permanent secretary appeared to give a generalised one.
Dr Gwinji said they had trained more than 1 200 village health workers that were still to be deployed to cover up for shortfalls in other areas.
“Yes, there is an apparent disparity on this. We will look at our database and give you a response,” said Dr Gwinji.
After a protracted argument from several legislators who took turns to lambast Dr Gwinji, Dr Chimedza told the permanent secretary that the committee was not convinced with his explanation.
“The committee is not satisfied with the explanation. It is not happy with that explanation. We will ask you to go to your database on this particular issue and explain to us in writing,” said Dr Chimedza.
Earlier on Dr Gwinji told a Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development chaired by Goromonzi West Cde Beata Nyamupinga (Zanu-PF) that they would keep monitoring the impact of a book to be published by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede and his colleague Richard Hondo, which highlighted the effects of contraceptives on women.