PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 4th February, 2016
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
THE HON. SPEAKER: Before I make the following announcements to the changes to Committee membership, I want to appeal to hon. members through their Chief Whips to stick to their Committees. We shall not allow in future, except for new members, where hon. members would want to change Committees each time we resume sitting. That is an affront to continuity in Committee work.
Having said that, Hon. Killian Sibanda, our new member, will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Budget and Finance as well as Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality; Hon. Mlilo will now serve on the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development; Hon. Mukupe will move from the Public Accounts Committee to serve on the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce and Hon. A. Mnangagwa will move from the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs to serve on the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality.
PETITIONS FROM CONCERNED GROUPS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that on the 29th September 2015, I received a petition from the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ) imploring Parliament to urgently review the country’s mining legal frameworks and assess the level of under-representation of women in various mining boards.
On 8th October, 2015, I also received a petition from the Electoral Resource Centre imploring Parliament to ensure that the Executive aligns The Zimbabwe Electoral Act to the Constitution.
The two petitions have been referred to the Portfolio Committees on Mines and Energy and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs respectively in terms of Standing Order No. 183 of the National Assembly Standing Rules and Orders.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, with the leave of the House, I move that the notice of presentation of Bill on the Order Paper for today, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
– [HON. MUTSEYAMI: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Mutseyami, we all learn everyday.
ZIMBABWE NATIONAL DEFENCE UNIVERSITY BILL [H. B. 12, 2015]
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I am honoured to present the National Defence University Bill that is aimed at transforming the now operational National Defence College into a full-fledged National Defence University to this august House for the Second Reading stage.
Mr. Speaker Sir, national defence universities wherever you find them, are institutions of higher learning that specialize in professional military training and development of national security strategy. By their nature, national defence universities are not ordinary State universities but are hybrids of military and civilian institutions of higher learning as well as Government specialised agencies on issues of defence and security.
For purposes of clarity, Mr. Speaker…
HON. MUDEREDZWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. We stand to be guided, on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, we were requesting that the debate on this Bill be deferred so that we are given ample time to carry out consultations as a Portfolio Committee. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill was introduced towards the end of last year and we were not given the opportunity to carryout public hearings and consultations. So, we are requesting the Hon. Minister to defer debate on the Bill so that we are given ample time to carry out consultations. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Muderedzwa, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, your point of order is taken except that the Chair will allow the Minister to present the Second Reading stage of the Bill and he will ask for the adjournment of debate to allow the Committee to proceed accordingly.
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. This is just the Second Reading; it is not the Committee Stage. Therefore, the Hon. Members, after this Second Reading, can proceed to do all the research that they want to do and come back to debate the Bill.
For purposes of clarity Mr. Speaker, the Constitution of Zimbabwe mandates the Defence Forces to protect and safeguard Zimbabwe its people, its security, its interests as well as its territorial integrity. This function takes into cognizance the widened scope of contemporary defence and security, which in itself, is multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, the Zimbabwe National Defence University is envisaged to be a national strategic analysis and advisory centre that generates solutions to contemporary and diverse national security challenges that Zimbabwe may face at any given time through the provision of platforms for shared participation by the military, civilian and private sector players.
Mr. Speaker Sir, over the last decade, Zimbabwe has been threatened by the European Union and USA’s illegal economic sanctions and political interference that in turn have necessitated the establishment of an institution with the capacity to analyse national problems and develop a capable human capital base of experts, leaders and professionals as well as innovate and develop newer technologies that protect Zimbabwe, its people and interests.
The establishment of a National Defence University Mr. Speaker, is not in any way Zimbabwe’s own invention as this is an international trend that is evidenced by the availability of numerous examples of such universities globally. A distinguishing feature of all national defence universities, Mr. Speaker, is that they are established as military institutions with civilian and military staff complements but wholly administered by the military.
Examples of defence universities that quickly come to mind Mr. Speaker, include the National Defence University of the United States of America wholly administered by the United States Department of Defence, the National Defence University of China, which is administered by the Central Military Commission, the National Defence University of Pakistan, which is administered by the Ministry of Defence supported by the Higher Education Commission and the Uganda University of Military Science and Technology administered by the Ministry of Defence. This aptly explains why the proposed Zimbabwe National Defence University is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Defence and should remain under the ambit of the Ministry of Defence.
Mr. Speaker, in compliance with the national legislative requirements of the country, the Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill, having been presented to this august House for the First Reading on 16 December, 2015, is hereby presented again today for the Second Reading stage with particular emphasis on the Ministry of Defence’s administrative responsibility over this critical institution of higher and specialized learning and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development’s regulative responsibility of its academic programmes.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Zimbabwe National Defence University has five very important objectives which are to:
- be the national strategic analysis and advisory institution and a premier institution of higher learning for defence and security that fosters the achievement of national interest objectives through government ministries, departments and institutions;
- provide higher education and training in national policy and strategy formulation for military and civilian leaders to better address national and international security challenges;
- nurture and preserve the spirit of unity and patriotism in pursuit of sustainable moral, social and economic growth of the nation of Zimbabwe;
- inculcate excellence in research, innovation, geopolitical economies, training and leadership developments; and
- input into the Zimbabwe National Security Council outcomes of research on issues of national defence and security;
In outline Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill presented to this august House for consideration, deliberation and subsequent adoption. Mazvinzwaka and munoda kutomboenda for military training kuti muve nedisciplinepachikona apo – [Laughter] – Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. MUDEREDZWA: Mr. Speaker, we humbly request that we be given three weeks to make consultations before this Bill is debated.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The request is accepted.
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th February, 2016.
GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 2A, 2015]
Amendments in Parts I, VI, XX, CIX, CXII, CXIII, CXIV, CXV, CXVI, CXVII and CXVIII put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, adopted.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 2A, 2015]
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGANGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGANGWA): Mr. Speaker, I move that the Order of the Day Number 3, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GANDAWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th February, 2016.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GANDAWA): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 14 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 15 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed.
HON. CROSS: On a point of order Mr. Speaker, we have got two objections to deferment.
THE HON. SPEAKER: My apologies, I did notice them.
HON. CROSS. On my side Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement on Order Number 5 on the national food and water situation.
HON. LABODE: Hon. Speaker, on Order Number 6, it is a report from the Committee that is part of the global reports….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Dr. Labode, the Chair did not recognise you. Let me deal with Hon. Cross.
HON. CROSS: I want to debate on Order Number 5.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you, please go ahead.
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity this afternoon. I want to draw the attention of the House to the circumstances which have changed since the President gave His State of the Nation to us. This is because I see an emergency situation as a result of the drought conditions which prevail in the country at this time and in fact throughout the region.
I want to bring to the attention of the House the situation regarding maize supplies, water supplies and the issue of livestock. Mr. Speaker Sir, on the 15th December, 2015, the Grain Marketing Board had in its stocks 150 000 tonnes of maize and they are distributing this stock at a rate of 10 000 to 15 000 tonnes per month, largely on a welfare basis to affected families in drought stricken areas. The private sector held on the 15th January, 2016, 119 000 tonnes. The total stock in transit on the same day was 90 000 tonnes largely in the form of maize from Argentina and Zambia. This gave us as total stock holding at the middle of January 2016 of 359 000 tonnes, which is two months supply at our domestic demand of 150 000 tonnes per month. If we assume the Grain Marketing Board stocks are used at the rate of 10 000 tonnes a month which is 200 000 bags a month, largely for the purposes of welfare, then stocks at the GMB cannot be considered as part of the commercial stock holding for the country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in addition to this situation, the United States and United Kingdom have both contributed to a special fund of US$100 million which is going to be used for income support for rural families. My understanding is that this is going to cover 300 000 families at the rate of US$35 per month for the next ten months. This suggests to me that the first point which we have to consider is that the welfare needs of about 500 000 families have been largely accommodated at this moment in time. This leaves in the rural areas about 200 000 families who are not covered by these welfare disbursements. The balance is 140 000 tonnes a month of maize that we require for domestic consumption.
Mr. Speaker, we convened a meeting of producers in the middle of January and their estimate of the national crop this year was given at 200 000 tonnes. This suggest that if we allocate that on a monthly basis throughout the rest of the year there will be a supply of about 20 000 tonnes to local markets on a monthly basis. This leaves us with a demand for a 120 000 a month as a direct import requirement with immediate effect. That means we have to look at where this maize can come from and what is the logistics situation?
Mr. Speaker, the situation is extremely worrying, the total capacity of Beira at this moment in time is 20 000 tonnes week. The total capacity therefore, on a monthly basis is 86 000 tonnes. And if we can only get 86 000 tonnes a month through Beira, it leaves us with the shortfall of 40 000 tonnes a month which has to come from other places. The other sources would be either Zambia or South Africa. Zambia is expecting a maize crop of roughly 2 million tonnes this year. Above Lusaka they have received fairly normal rains and below Lusaka, particularly the Southern area, the rains have been inadequate and the crop will be affected by drought.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in addition to that, Zambia is holding approximately 400 000 tonnes of maize in stock and they should therefore be able to meet the majority of their own requirements. Their dilemma as a country is whether to concede continuing to export from their own stocks to places like Zimbabwe or whether to suspend exports and leave us to our own devices. At the present moment in time, the Zambian Food Reserve Agency is limiting exports from their own stocks and the total capacity logistically, of taking maize from Zambia is about 40 000 tonnes a month. If we are therefore able to secure maize from Zambia we should be able to accommodate our domestic needs, providing we can bring sufficient maize through Beira.
We now have to look at the South African situation, Mr. Speaker because this has a direct impact on the regional situation for all maize importing countries. These would be Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. All of these countries use the same infrastructure – the ports and the railway system of Southern Africa. At this moment in time, the latest estimate is that South Africa will have to import 7 000 000 tonnes of maize in the next 12 months. Mr. Speaker, that is 500 000 tonnes a month. The total combined capacity of South African ports at this moment is 4 000 000 tonnes a year, which means all South African ports are going to be operating at capacity just dealing with South Africa’s own requirements and the requirements of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi are simply not going to be able to be accommodated at South African ports.
Just to give members some idea of the total magnitude of the problem and this is very serious Mr. Speaker Sir; the total needs of Southern Africa over the next 18 months is going to be 22 000 000 tonnes of grain. That is about 4 000 000 tonnes of wheat and the balance, 18 000 000 tonnes of maize; that is 1 200 000 tonnes of imports a month; that is 150 ships at sea at any one point in time. It is 40 000 railway wagons employed on the movement; it is 1200 locomotives and this is on top of all the other demands which are currently being made in Southern Africa. The total capacity of Beira Port is 1.5 million tonnes a year. The total capacity of Maputo is 500 000 tonnes as they do not have any bulk import facilities in Maputo. The capacity of South African Ports is 4 000 000 tonnes a year. That is 6 000 000 tonnes which you have got to put against the total import demand of 22 000 000 tonnes.
Mr. Speaker, this means that unless some kind of emergency arrangements are made for the coordination of imports and the prioritisation of import activity, railway movements, port activities and the arrival of ships; if this is not synchronised on a regional basis there is a very real possibility that individual countries will not be able to meet the domestic demands for maize in their own markets and the worst affected country in the region is Zimbabwe. We are going to have to import 2 400 000 tonnes of maize and wheat in the next 18 months. I say 18 months because it will be 18 months before there is any new crop in Zimbabwe derived from this coming season.
This means, Mr. Speaker Sir, that Zimbabwe is in a very precarious position. We are in a position today and this is the first time in my life that I have ever seen this situation, where we could physically run out of maize. I do not need to tell you the consequences; every Zimbabwean knows we have not eaten if we have not eaten mealie meal. We have mealie meal on a daily basis. It is our primary staple food. If that product is not available on a ready basis throughout the country at any moment in time it will trigger social unrest on a massive scale. I think we have to take cognisance of this and recognise that an emergency situation exists.
I would like to suggest that as soon as possible, we approach SADC and we ask the SADC Secretariat to set up a working group in Gaborone to monitor the situation in the region to coordinate shipping, railway activity and procurement. Mr. Speaker, 22 000 000 tonnes of grain is not an insignificant volume on the international market. The other day we, in Zimbabwe, were offered 500 000 tonnes of white GMO free maize from the Ukraine. We expressed an interest in buying it because we now have a line of credit. Before we could buy that maize India moved in and bought the entire stock.
Mr. Speaker, we have to move on these matters. It takes three months to ship maize from Argentina or the USA to Zimbabwe. The other aspect of this is going to be the increase in the price. The other day I bought for my constituency one tonne of maize meal and I paid US$3.95 for a 10kg bag. The price of mealie meal in South Africa has doubled. It is going to increase dramatically here and this is going to have a serious impact on poor families throughout the country.
I would like now, just to deal with the water situation. I know the Minister responsible has made a statement on this matter, but I did not believe she briefed this House sufficiently on the urgency of the matter. The situation is that Gweru has four months water left in its dams. Let me just reiterate that Gweru, the third largest city in the country, has four months water in its dams. In Bulawayo we have already decommissioned one dam. We are preparing to decommission a second. So, out of the six dams in Bulawayo a third will be decommissioned before May.
Mr. Speaker, the problem in Bulawayo is that, as you decommission dams, you lose the capacity to deliver water because each dam has its own pipeline. If you are left, as we are, with just Insiza dam with a single pipeline supplying Bulawayo, we can only supply Bulawayo with 20% or 30% of its total demands. The Bulawayo City Council has already imposed restrictions at 60% of free demand. Bulawayo has a good track record in terms of managing its water supplies, but Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that if we do not do anything about infrastructure in Bulawayo, the very real danger is that Bulawayo could run out of water with dire consequences.
If you go to Matabeleland South the water situation for livestock is dire. I understand in Masvingo provinces also the Kyle dam is 25% full. What is being done about ensuring that the irrigators in the low veld who are drawing water for sugar cane are being put on a restricted basis so that our cities, particularly in the northern parts and Masvingo, can have their basic water supplies protected. Previously, when the sugar companies were allowed to draw water on an unrestricted basis, it almost got to the point where we could not supply Masvingo.
Now, Mr. Speaker Sir, this points to a national emergency. It is my view that more than 3 000 000 people are going to be affected by water shortages this winter and for many of those families they are going to have to move to town to relatives to survive. They are not going to be able to find water for their domestic purposes in the rural areas. Our city situation is by no means good.
Finally, I just want to talk about the situation regarding livestock. As you know my whole life has been in the cattle industry. I was the General Manager of the CSC in 1983 when we had a severe drought similar to this one. At this moment in time, I estimate that 3 500 000 herd of cattle are living in areas where there will be no grazing this winter and very little water. At least 700 000 head of cattle are going to die. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a loss of US$350 000 000 in income to the poorest communities in the country. This represents a catastrophe.
In 1983 what we did was, we bought cattle on a survival basis from the producers, paid them a market price and we put the cattle on the CSC ranches at West Nicolson when we fed 280 000 head of cattle right through the winter on a survival ration. This year there is no institution with the financial capacity for that. Those cattle are going to die where they live and it will take us years to recover from this position. I understand at this moment in time that donkeys are dying in the rural areas. I have never, in all my life, heard of donkeys dying of poverty and starvation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, just one last thought for the House and that is the question of the situation in urban areas. When we talk about welfare needs and so on, I am representing an urban constituency and in my constituency, especially in Tshabalala and Sizinda, I have 17 000 homes. Mr. Speaker, I must tell you that a high proportion of the people in my constituency do not have food even for one meal a day. We are trying by all means to provide food on an emergency basis to these people.
The previous time when this happened in 1992 the country had a functioning GMB. We had money in the bank as a country. We were able to meet the majority welfare needs of the majority of our people. We had a railways which was functioning. Today, the railways cannot move more than 3.5 million tonnes a year. They just do not have the locomotives. We have 36 functional locomotives in the whole country. There is no way today, we can respond adequately to this crisis. I want to mention to Hon. Members that if they have not looked at the satellite images of Southern Africa in recent weeks, they should look at it on a regular basis and you will see how Zimbabwe is the worst affected country in the entire region and it is an El Nino factor. It could be that this situation is permanent. This is not something which is going to be short term. This is something which we are going to take on board as an ordinary, normal function of our daily lives.
My concern is that there is no declaration of an emergency. There is no international appeal to the donors for assistance. There is no coordinated approach to this matter. The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development seems to be completely at loss and you saw a day before yesterday that the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services did not have a clue as to how to respond to this crisis. I just wanted to give the House a briefing along those lines this afternoon, Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. NDUNA: I want to add my voice on the Presidential Ten-Point Plan. Before I do Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to agree with my predecessor Hon. Cross on the issue of bolstering our defences to mitigate the effects of drought and the El Nino effect. The issues that I am going to touch on border on the President’s Ten-Point Plan which are:
- Revatilising agriculture and agro-processing value chain;
- Advancing beneficiation and/or value addition to our agricultural and mining resource endowment;
- Focusing on infrastructural development, particularly in the key Energy, Water, Transport and ICTs sub sectors;
- Unlocking the potential of small to medium enterprises;
- Encouraging private sector investment;
- Restoration and building of confidence and stability in the financial services sector;
- Joint ventures/public private partnerships to boost the role and performance of state owned companies;
- Modernising labour laws;
- Pursuing an anti-corruption thrust; and
- Implementation of Special Economic Zones to provide impetus on foreign direct investment which I believe after today is going to be brought to Parliament.
I touch on some of these issues that border on our agricultural system with a heavy heart. Everyday I criss-cross Chegutu West Constituency and my rural cnstituency which covers Wards 25, 24 and 28, the farmers in those wards ask me all the time and I share with them with a heavy heart when they say to me “hakusati kwanaya, mvura zvichadii gore rino” but knowing fully Mr. Speaker Sir, that the El Nino effect is now with us to stay. We need to be proactive in terms of drought mitigating factors. An example is where we got a facility of US$98m, that is, Food-For-Africa that came in as a Brazilian facility for irrigation equipment. If we mitigate our situation utilising agricultural equipment for the benefit of this country now and for the future, we are in the right direction.
As I meet these old people and some farmers, when they ask me if it is going to rain or if it is not going to rain, I say to myself Zimbabwe in particular has got a very young population and Africa in general has got a vibrant population led by Zimbabwe in terms of her education system. It is time we stood up and looked at utilising the water bodies that are dotted all around us. I will give you some water bodies that are in Chegutu West Constituency that are not being utilised effectively for agricultural and irrigation purposes. They are John Binya Dam, Suri Suri Dam, Masterpiece Dam, Bexley Dam, Mupfure River and two others which I have not mentioned here. That is in Chegutu West Constituency alone and the constituency does not have a radius of more than 40km, let alone the other constituencies that have larger volumes of water bodies and bigger water bodies before we even delve into the issue of irrigation utilising borehole water. We need to utilise the water bodies that are dotted all around us for effective agricultural mitigation of this drought phenomenon brought about by El Nino.
We need to utilise the young brains of Zimbabwe for the good of this nation, for the good of our agricultural system, for the good of our grain. We can talk of importation and whichever way of mitigating the hunger and drought that is bedeviling our economy and our country but before we utilise the water bodies and the underground water which is in abundance in our nation, we have not done ourselves a favour. We are actually doing our nation a disfavour. We can speculate on the weather and such alike but it is not going to give us solutions until and unless we utilise and spend money on revatilising our water bodies and systems in order to irrigate and use what we have got to do what we can and to get what we want.
I also want to touch on the fuel system which is going to enhance our economic situation in this country. The fuel price fell from US$118 per barrel which is equal to 159 litres. It means globally fuel fell from US$118 per barrel to US$43 per barrel at the time when we should have gained 60% value at that time to our economy on the fuel aspect. We did not benefit a cent at that time, our fuel never went down. Madam Speaker, the barrel per litre of fuel – the barrel of fuel as we speak has gone down to even US$30 per barrel but we as a nation still have not benefited out of that. What it means is that we have more than 400 000 vehicles automobile traversing this nation everyday utilizing nothing less than 10 litres per automobile, which translate to about 4 million litres of fuel per day that we utilize in this nation. We still, as a nation, have not derived any economical benefit out of the fuel downward trend.
It is time we require the answers as to why we are not deriving any benefits, any notable benefit arising from the globalization of our nation into the global community. We utilize the same fuel that is utilized in the global community. How come as a nation we have not benefitted from the downward trend of the downward price reduction. Who is benefiting on the fuel reduction if not the nation and its economy? My suggested solution to enhance the good of our economy on the fuel front would be this way; we utilize about US$400 000 per day which accrue to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. If we reduce by 60% our fuel price and increase just by 10 cents or a cent; what that means is for the entire automobile that are traversing our nation each day, we can benefit a cent from each automobile. That translates to about US$400 000 per day. What that means per month is a US$1 500 000. We could hedge on that and use it as collateral and go to multinationals and look for money that can be borrowed to this nation utilising monies that we have gotten because of the downward review of fuel prices. But alas, we have not done so. Who is benefiting from this downward trend of this fuel reduction.
Assuming arising from the 60% reduction, we increase our fuel after reducing it by that much by 10 cents, we can also go to DBSA and go and get that US$150m loan that we have been talking about for a long time for the dualisation of the Norton to Kadoma highway. This is money for free, God given because the barrel of fuel has gone down globally. Here is an opportunity to get what we can arising from a God-given reduction in fuel. Madam Speaker, one wants the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to come and explain to us why we will not benefit as a nation from the reduction of crude oil price.
I will now touch on gold Madam Speaker. The issue of gold is really core and key to my heart. In my constituency alone, I have more than US$10 000 yields that deal in gold and I would urge the Government to start buying gold from each and every one that has got gold that has got access to gold including artisanal miners. Now since the devaluation of the rand or since the rand lost its value, what has happened is that South Africa is printing a lot of rands because they have got the capacity, it is their currency. They are utilizing that to get back on their feet by buying Zimbabwean gold from all those that the Zimbabwean Government would not care to buy from and that includes artisanal miners. South Africa has increased their buying power by 15% against our price that we are offering to our gold producers. What it means is that a lot of our gold is finding its way to South Africa – [HON. MEMBERS:Inaudible interjections] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, can the hon. member be heard in silence. Please lower your whispers.
HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, thank you for protecting me. A lot of our gold is finding its way to South Africa because the rand in South Africa has lost its value. They have taken advantage of that so that they can make sure that our economy here in Zimbabwe is used so that we can hedge their economy. So, it is time we woke up as a nation and buy gold from all artisanal miners. We are saying the laws have not been changed but the laws of the Mines and Minerals Act that was enunciated and enacted in 1951 has also not even been amended. It was done in 1966 and does not favour the black community. It does not favour the Africans, Zimbabweans so, this is why we are finding our gold going through elicit means out to South Africa in particular and anywhere else in general.
I will now touch on issues to do with school, primary education in particular. We are losing a lot of our future because firstly, we are not feeding our children at school. A lot of our African kids are not going to school because they are hungry. We are losing our engineers of the future today because we are not feeding our kids. The distance between home and school is 15 to 20 km and our kids are not going to school. As they also get there, they are not being fed, so they are not going there. There was feeding during the Rhodesian era but there is no feeding now in Zimbabwe. It is time we make sure that we start feeding our children at school.
On the issue of fees at primary level, our kids are being turned away from school because of non-payment of fees. What is the net-effect? What actually happens is that here is a child sent away, in particular this is prevalent in my constituency in Chegutu West. Kids are sent away from school but when the parents do get the fees and start paying, the monies are not deducted for the two weeks the kid has not been at school. When we talk of headmasters and schools being urged to go after the parent, it should be serious. Anyone that chases a child from school for non-payment of schools fees should be incarcerated, should be thrown behind bars for good because they are stealing and it is day light robbery from hard working parents who then pay that fees without deducting the monies for the time that kid would not have been at school – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. members, you are no longer whispering, you are shouting. We want to hear what the hon. member is saying.
HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, I will not labour you with anything else other than that. Now let me conclude by saying; instead of school looking for revenue from school fees only, there is a downsizing of farms that is currently happening now. Some farm pieces should be given to schools so that we can embark on education with production once again. Where there is no fees, we mitigate the effect by producing in that land and paying fees for those kids that are disadvantaged and cannot have fees being paid for them – particularly in Chegutu West where David Whitehead is closed; if this programme can quickly kick start in Chegutu and in any other areas for the good of our people because we a Government by the people, with the people and for the people. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (DR. GANDAWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th February, 2016.
SPECIAL REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND CHILD CARE ON PUTTING TUBERCULOSIS ON THE POLITICIAL AGENDA: THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS IN SUPPORTING TUBERCULOSIS COUNCILS IN ZIMBABWE
HON. D. TSHUMA: I move the motion in my name that this House takes note of the Special Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care on putting tuberculosis on the political agenda: The role of Parliamentarians in supporting Tuberclosis Councils in Zimbabwe.
HON. L. MOYO: I second.
HON. D. TSHUMA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Maám for affording me this opportunity to make a special report of the Portfolio Committee and Child Care. I will quickly run through the special report though it is a handy document. I will try to be as quick as I can.
1.1 Members of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care together with the Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS attended a two-day Workshop organized by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) in conjunction with the World Health Organisation at the Kadoma Ranch Motel from 31 July to 1 August 2015.The Workshop was held under the theme: – Putting Tuberculosis (T.B) on the Political Agenda. Members at the workshop also visited Kadoma General Hospital to appreciate the operations of the hospital.
1.2 Hon. Dr. Ruth Labode, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, gave the opening remarks in which she thanked the Ministry of Health and Child Care for spearheading the collaborative efforts that would give the Members of Parliament an opportunity to work with their communities on an informed platform and bring to the fore issues that affect the communities they live in and work with on TB, as well as ensure that people have access to appropriate medication.
2.0 WORKSHOP OVERVIEW
2.1 The Meeting received updates on the Implementation of T.B/HIV Collaborative efforts globally and nationally.
2.2 Global Perspective
2.2.1 Globally HIV associated T.B remains a major public health concern;
2.2.3 One third of 35 million People Living with HIV (PLHIV) worldwide are infected with latent T.B;
- Persons co-infected with T.B and HIV are 30 times more likely to develop active TB disease;
- TB is the most common presenting illness among PLHIV including those who are taking ART;
- TB is the leading cause of death among PLHIV accounting for 1 in 5 HIV related deaths; and
- PLHIV face emerging threats of Multiple Drug Resistant-Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and Extensively Drug Resistant-TB (XDR-TB).
2.3 Country Perspective
Zimbabwe like other 22 highly burdened countries in the world with the prevalence of T.B continues to be severely hamstrung by the dual T.B-HIV epidemic.
- There is HIV prevalence among 15 – 49 year group of 15% (Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey 2010/11);
- The current estimation of T.B prevalence is 345/100,000 population; and
- There is 69% HIV co-infection in all T.B cases (Global TB Report 2014).
2.4 HIV Epidemic in Zimbabwe
There is a national adult HIV prevalence (15 to 49 years) of estimated 15% (2013 HIV Estimates). The following have been identified as best practices in tackling the epidemic:
- There is need to set up set up coordinating bodies for effective TB/HIV activities at all levels;
- The need to conduct surveillance of HIV prevalence among TB cases;
- Need to carry out joint TB/HIV planning;
- Urgent need to monitor and evaluate collaborative TB/HIV activities;
- Establish intensified TB case finding;
- Ensure TB infection control in health care and congregate settings;
- Decrease burden of HIV among TB patients;
- Provide HIV testing and counseling;
- Introduce HIV prevention methods holistically;
- Introduce co-trimoxazole preventive therapy;
- Ensure that there is HIV/AIDS care and support;
- Make ARV’s accessible at all levels in Zimbabwe; and
- Escalate the Implementation of TB/HIV collaborative activities in Zimbabwe.
2.5 It was observed that while significant milestones have been attained in strengthening TB/HIV collaborative efforts in the country, there is, however room for improvement in the following areas: Improving Anti-Retroviral Drugs coverage among TB/HIV co-infected, improvement of TB infection control and the need for mobilizing resources for the management of dual epidemics.
3.0 GENERAL OUTLINE OF THE EPIDEMIC IN ZIMBABWE
3.1 The Committees received an outline of the different types of TB.
3.2 Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB)
This is the type of tuberculosis (TB) caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that has developed a genetic mutation(s) such that a particular drug (or drugs) is no longer effective against the bacteria (See Notes).
3.3 TB Treatment in Zimbabwe
The following is an outline of the cost of treatment of TB in Zimbabwe;
Drug susceptible TB – 6 to 9 months $31;
Multidrug resistant TB – 20 to 24 months $2571; and
Extensively Drug Resistant TB – 24 to 36 months $31000
In this regard, with the economic strains facing the country, prevention and control of the disease becomes key to TB management in the country.
4.0 ADVOCACY COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MOBILIZATION AND COMMUNITY TB
4.1 It has become imperative to note that the TB disease mostly impacts people in the prime of their lives, from age 15–50, decreasing their ability to contribute to their country’s economy and to support their families.
4.2 In this regard, there is need to have a broad set of coordinated interventions designed to place TB high on the political agenda, foster political will and increase financial and resource allocations.
4.3 Apart from availing the necessary resources, the following interventions should be done:
– partnership meetings, parliamentary debates on the epidemic, political events to highlight the problem, bilateral negotiations, petitions to relevant authorities, campaigns, mass media support and audiovisual and written communications on the subject matter, TB.
5.0 TB LABORATORY AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES
5.1 The meeting received a presentation on the Laboratory and Diagnostic services that are provided which are key to the early detection and treatment of TB.
5.2 It was noted that; the geological spread of the system is as follows:
2 Reference Laboratory (NTRL);
5 Central/ National Hospital Laboratories;
10 Provincial Hospital Laboratories;
180 District/ Mission Hospital Laboratories; and
1000 Healthcare Centres/ Clinics Laboratories
5.3 The following challenges were observed with regards to laboratory and detection systems:
- That staffing levels are low;
- There are skills flight of (54% staffing levels) (which is a worrisome situation);
- In essence, the remaining staff is over-stretched;
- There is reduced intake of students into the field at Universities and Colleges;
- Generally, there is inadequate funding for most activities;
- There are challenges in infrastructure, with some labs constructed before independence which do not conform to current international standards;
- The preponderance to have obsolete equipment which face recurrent breakdowns and are expensive to maintain;
- There is donor fatigue with most activities either being scaled down or closed totally; and
- There is a skewed distribution of TB lab services.
6.0 INVESTING IN TB
6.1 In their presentation, the MoHCC highlighted that in eight low-income high-burden TB countries (HBCs), domestic funding represents less than 7% of National TB budget needs. Despite the critical need for increased TB resources, donor funding for TB decreased by nearly 10% in 2014 (Zimbabwe Scenario). Again this situation is a cause for concern.
6.2 The TB programme is funded from GOZ, the Global Fund and many other partners.
6.3 The budgetary constraints in the economy continues to affect the revenue streams to the Treasury thereby affecting adequate allocations to the Ministry of Health & Child Care.
6.4 It can be observed that there is a funding gap which is used to determine if there is a difference between desired financial performance and actual performance.
6.5 There is need to improve domestic TB financing initiatives to avert the risk of foreign funding drying up. The National Aids Council (NAC) should also set aside a defined proportion of TB activities and financing.
7.0 PUTTING TB ON THE POLITICAL AGENDA-ROLE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS IN SUPPORTING TB CONTROL IN ZIMBABWE
7.2 Presenting a paper, Hon. P.D Sibanda delivered the major oversight roles of the Legislative arm which involves: Monitoring, investigating, enquiring into and making recommendations relating to any aspect of the legislative program, budget, policy or any other matter that may be considered relevant to the Government. Since Parliament has a say in the budget process it can leverage its influence to allow for more resources towards TB programs in the country.
7.3 Parliamentarians are the voice of the poor and other vulnerable groups and should ensure that development plans are informed by the real priorities on the ground and, by adopting requisite legislation.
7.4 Parliamentarians face the harsh reality of lack of halfway houses for Multi Drug Resistant patients, lack of sufficient nutritional diet, lack of adequate awareness, lack of resources to transfer sputum from remote health centers to hospitals with laboratories for tests and lack of access to health facilities as some of the common challenges which were hampering the control of Tuberculosis in Zimbabwe.
7.5 In this regard, there is need for Legislators to constantly liaise with medical authorities in their constituencies to assist, where possible in dealing with challenges that they may be facing, to disseminate TB related information during feedback meetings. Legislators should be catalysts for provision of required resources for health institutions and communities to properly deal with TB and access TB treatment, e.g. halfway houses, nutritional food, adequate laboratories, motor vehicles and other accessories.
8.0 WHO GLOBAL END STRATEGY
8.1 The Legislators were exposed to the Parliamentarians Global TB Summit which was founded in October 2014 following a meeting of parliamentarians from around the world who are committed to fighting TB. The Global TB Caucus is an International network of Parliamentarians who are committed to the fight against tuberculosis (TB).
8.2 The first meeting, held in Barcelona 2014, was the inaugural Global TB Summit.
8.3 The Barcelona Declaration is an initiative of the Global TB Caucus. It is a representation of the worldwide political commitment to end the TB epidemic.
8.4 A second Global TB Summit is planned to take place in Cape Town at the end of November 2015.
8.5 To show how serious the initiative is, by 29 July 2015: 488 Parliamentarians from 72 countries had managed to sign the Barcelona Declaration.
8.6 Members of Parliament present, managed to sign the Declaration. They took up the challenge educate and engage their political colleagues about the disease and the Declaration and also urge them to sign up.
9.0 VISIT TO KADOMA GENERAL HOSPITAL
9.1 The attendees to the Workshop took time to visit the Kadoma General Hospital which put to light all the concerns that were raised during the Workshop. The Medical Staff led by Dr. Munyaradzi, the Medical Superintendent took the Committee Members through the state of the Hospital and highlighted the following problems and observations:
- Erratic supplies of running water;
- The boiler is out of service;
- The hospital is in dire need of repainting;
- There is no air-conditioning in the main theatre;
- Since the year 2013, the mortuary has been down;
- The hospital has 5 ambulances and one service vehicle. The service vehicle faces frequent breakdowns to an extent that food is sometimes delivered in an ambulance;
- The hospital has no dental therapist;
- The hospital, up to the time of the visit had only received US$10 000.00 from Treasury;
- The hospital tests up 500 sputum per month under very difficult circumstances;
- Of the $230 000.00 budgetary allocation to the hospital, only received US$10 000. 00 was released by July 2015.
- The generator has no switch changeover despite it having been paid for by the previous management;
- In the children’s wards, mothers sleep on the floor whilst attending to the children.
In summary, these are some of the problems being faced by the hospital.
- WAY FORWARD
The following observations were made as recommendations:
10.1 Parliamentarians as representatives of the people should spearhead community response to TB.
- There is need to resuscitate well-known TB Centres such as Chest Centre in Bulawayo, Makumbe Centre, Driefontain (Muwonde), Gwanda and others and close the long distances gap to health facilities that provide adequate TB testing and treatment facilities.
- Government should move swiftly to reduce the exorbitant cost of 2nd line TB treatment.
- The State should provide an enabling environment to allow for retention of staff. The human resource establishment was last reviewed in the 80s.
- Government should warm up to its responsibility of providing domestic funding for TB.
- TB among prisoners and artisanal miners should be a top priority issue and needs to be addressed with the urgency it deserves.
- The health budget for TB at 7 percent is a mockery as compared to the devastating effects of the disease.
- Capacity building programmes for Parliamentarians are the key to involving them as community advocates to the epidemic. The programme such as the Kadoma Advocacy Workshop should extend to all Members of Parliament and staff in Government Departments.
- There is need to Screen Parliamentarians for T.B., as Community Leaders they become exemplary.
10.10 Committee Members should encourage others to sign the Global TB Caucus Barcelona Declaration. An effort should be made to allow Members of the Committee to attend the Cape Town Meeting.
- ACTION POINTS FROM PARLIAMENTARIANS
11.1 Legislators should influence the allocation of sufficient resources for TB.
- Members of Parliament should put TB on the political agenda
- Parliament should closely monitor the disbursement of allocated budgetary funds towards TB.
- Members of Parliament should push for revision of budgetary priorities towards health in general. The National Budget allocates only 8% of its recurrent expenditure for disease control
- There is an urgent need to establish a taskforce to advance TB issues in Parliament. A Committee with a shared perspective should be set up to work out the modalities of operation.
- Parliamentarians should be empowered with information to raise awareness on TB in and out of Parliament.
- Initiatives should be made to integrate TB programmes into existing development meetings that are routinely held in Constituencies.
11.8 More liaison needs to be made with Provincial Medical Directors (PMDs) and District Medical Officers (DMOs) to establish TB gaps and address them swiftly and appropriately.
- The Committee should lobby the donors and Minister of Finance to invest more in TB programme
11.10 The management of DR-TB in Zimbabwe is an integral component of the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP). The aim is to provide the best possible outcomes for patients and the program through: – early detection of DR-TB cases.
- Once the diagnosis has been made/established, there should be prompt initiation of appropriate therapy.
12.0 COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
The Committee recommends that:
12.1 The Ministry of Health and Child Care should ensure that at least 40% of 2016 recurrent budget be allocated to the disease control line item, instead of present situation where the ratio is 6:1 in favour of curative services.
12.2 The Ministry of Health and Child Care must as a matter of urgency
include in the 2016 budget the recurrent of mobile clinics, so as to
improve access to:
- Early diagnosis;
- Early initiation of appropriate treatment;
- Monitoring and Evaluation of the treatment response.
12.3 The Ministry of Health and Child Care must ensure that National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe as the drug procuring and distribution agent for Government, is allocated adequate funds in the 2016 budget to be able to facilitate the continuous availability of drugs. This would reduce new strain of tuberculosis called Multiple-Drug-Resistant-Tuberculosis which is expensive and difficult to manage.
13.1 The Committee is of the opinion that there is need to include TB activities into the main activities of Parliament’s work and called for sustained action from Government to combat the disease. It is in this regard, that sustained lobbying should be made on the Executive to prioritize the disease while politicians should continuously foster synergies that will allow for the epidemic to be put on the political agenda.
13.2 The Committee through the Speaker’s Office is encouraging all Members of Parliament to sign the Barcelona Declaration attached to this report.
Types of Drug resistance
Drug-susceptible: No resistance to any first-line anti-TB drugs (HRZE).
Monoresistance: Resistance to one first-line anti-TB drug.
Polyresistance: Resistance to more than one first-line anti-TB drug other than isoniazid and rifampicin.
Multidrug resistance (MDR): Resistance to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most potent anti-TB drugs.
Extensive drug resistance (XDR): MDR plus resistance to at least one of the fluoroquinolones, and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs (capreomycin, kanamycin, and amikacin).
The burden of MDR or XDR-TB is not known in the country
The last TB-DRS was conducted in 1994-95 and it found MDR-TB in 1,9% (95% CI 1,1-3,3) of new TB cases and 8,3% (95% CI 2,9-21,8) of previously treated cases
Based on this survey and the 2013 notifications, WHO estimated that the country had 820 MDR cases among all TB cases in 2014.
This means that the estimated number of XDR patients in 2014 was around 89.
There are two main forces driving the DR-TB pandemic globally.
The first is generation of DR-TB through mismanagement of patients being treated for pan-susceptible disease.
The second is ongoing transmission of drug-resistant TB in the community.
Hon. Speaker Sir, I have covered the report on tuberculosis in Zimbabwe. I thank you.
HON. L. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the mover of this important motion which is putting tuberculosis (TB) on the political agenda and the role of parliamentarians in supporting Tuberculosis Councils in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker, the topic on tuberculosis is very important and needs everybody’s attention. Tuberculosis is highly infectious and a fatal viral disease that can be passed from one person to another, especially in overcrowded and poorly ventilated places when one person coughs, sneezes or spits.
The world is fast losing its battle against tuberculosis which has become the biggest infectious killer globally claiming about 1.5 million people in the world. It, therefore, requires the collective effort of all of us to fight the disease. It is, therefore, a global disgrace and a human tragedy that TB that is curable is killing so many people in the world when so many educated people are in the country. TB is common in Zimbabwe; it is everywhere as even Members of Parliament can also be affected.
One of the roles of parliamentarians is to take action in order to stop this killer disease. Zimbabwe is said to be claiming 20% of the people out of the 1.5million people who die. TB requires a community approach that is every one of us including Members of Parliament, chiefs and clerks so that we can eradicate the disease. Members of Parliament should actively take action to combat it by reducing the TB and HIV stigma by educating people on symptoms and treatment of the diseases. Some of the roles of parliamentarians should be to encourage local clinics and Community Health Workers to raise awareness on the benefits of completing treatment.
Members of Parliament should encourage the establishment of support groups in the country so that they also fight the disease. We should also assist with TB case findings and conduct tracing. Mr. Speaker Sir, as we speak many people die every day because we are not serious about combating the disease. Having said this, may I also refer the House to the Barcelona Declaration;-
‘We, the undersigned, as political representatives of various peoples of the world, recognizing that every man, woman and child should be able to live their lives free from the tyranny of disease, HEREBY DECLARE: this was a declaration that was made that the mover of the motion has already spoken about that tuberculosis (TB) has killed a greater number of people than any other infectious disease in human history and continues to be responsible for 1.5million deaths a year, often affecting the most vulnerable and that it should be a global political priority.
That the current rate of progress in combating TB is too slow, such that the disease will remain a threat to the social and economic well-being of millions of citizens around the world for centuries to come and that accelerating progress against the disease should be recognised by all governments to be in the interests of all.
The drug-resistant TB demonstrates a collective failure to address this disease properly. Mr. Speaker Sir, I know the paper was circulated before and that most of us have it. May I, therefore, thank you for listening.
HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to urge the Members of Parliament and to stress what my colleagues Hon. Tshuma and Hon. Moyo have just told you. Before I do that, I want to thank the leaders of Parliament who have signed the Barcelona Declaration that is the Speaker of Parliament; the Deputy Speaker of Parliament; the Senate President mai Madzongwe and her deputy. Now that makes them part of the global caucus of parliamentarians against TB. I also want to thank Members of Parliament here as we managed to get 120 signatures that we will be sending to Geneva starting next week Monday. So, you may clap for yourselves – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
I just wanted to discuss a little bit about multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. This is a TB, we have all known that there is TB in our lives but it has changed because people could not endure long term treatment, they would stop and the TB bacteria became clever and started changing its shape which meant that now it could not be treated with existing drugs. Yesterday when we were treating it for six months, it cost something like $3 000.00, it cost Government because TB treatment has always been for free.
Now the minute it becomes multi-drug-resistant which is happening quite frequently and it is frightening, we now need $30 000.00 to treat a multi-drug-resistant person, can we afford it? We cannot, so what is our role? Our role is to ensure that everybody who is diagnosed with TB, we have to urge our relatives and people in the constituencies to say imwai mushonga, take your tablets on a daily basis. Why are people defaulting? They are defaulting because TB drugs cause gastritis. You need food to take them and people do not have food but the danger of that is, we cannot afford the other side.
In the past, when I worked at Thorngrove TB Hospital, every time you were diagnosed with TB, you were given beans, cooking oil and so on, for you to be able to take your tablets. So, as Members of Parliament, we have to urge our communities to take their drugs once they are diagnosed with TB. The danger is that, it is not only those who work in the mines that will get TB, even among ourselves here, people of my age and those with diabetes; all we need is one of us to have multi-drug resistant TB. Some of us will catch and we will die because only 50% of the people actually are healed.
This TB has become more dangerous than HIV by the way, because with HIV if you go on ARVs, you can be treated or maintain it and we are getting to zero zero but with TB we are not getting to zero. This is because TB is changing its shape in our bodies and becoming something else we do not know. One of the things that create a problem is our TB is 100% funded by donors but our problem is distances. Somebody comes from UMP, Binga or Shurungwi and is diagnosed with TB, gets the first stock. For the next one, he needs about $5 for transport and does not have the money, he stops. By doing that now he is breeding that multi-drug resistance. You normally start feeling better after two months so you think you are okay when you are actually not okay. That is the time you need to finish your course.
The multi-drug resistant TB takes two years to be treated. Let us say you are working for a company like Delta for example, will they keep treating you for two years because you are now actually a danger to your colleagues within the company. So your job is likely to end. What is worrying also is; for that two years, six months you will be getting injections. How many of you here can endure that. In addition to that injection of six months, you will take 140 000 tablets in two years. The tablets also have side effects. This is the multi-drug resistant course. One may become deaf, develop blackish itchy rash/spots and this is why people end up saying okungasi kufa yikuphi, let me just die.
So, we have an obligation to ensure that we get our people treated. We urge them because the treatment is free. Our only problem is of access and I think that the Ministry of Health and Child Care is really making an effort because these drugs are being moved by the European Union to the rural areas but the challenge maybe from the district to the rural health centre. As Members of Parliament, take it upon yourself that once in a while you go to the health institutions; ask how many TB patients they have and whether they are taking their medication. What they are now doing is that if you are diagnosed with TB, they call the person who lives with you and ask them to supervise the treatment.
So, I am really urging parliamentarians to say you are going to be the vanguards of this thing because it is a bombshell and as Zimbabwe we cannot afford it. We really cannot afford to go the multi-drug resistant way. Let us implement what is called the Direct Treatment Observation (DOT) strategy which means you the relative are the ones observing that the person is taking his TB medication.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity. Let me add on to what was said by the Committee regarding starvation in Zimbabwe. I will start by thanking the newspapers and radios for disseminating news from rural areas. Some the information which has been published by these media houses is information which is ignored by other agencies in those areas. When we look at TB, it is a very deadly disease and when you are taking the medication, you need to be taking your food. That is the only way you can be treated of TB.
If you take TB medication without food you may end up dying. I am looking at the situation in Zimbabwe especially the problem of starvation. I predict that there are lots of people who are going to die if no emergency measures are taken to have these people accessing food. Areas such as Masvingo, some parts of Mashonaland and Matebeleland, there is a lot of starvation. Again, in those areas that is where we have many people suffering from TB. We have people in Matebeleland at the border with Botswana, they go to these neighbouring countries seeking employment. When they come back, they could be transmitting the TB virus. Looking at these areas, these are areas where many people are starving due to the effects of climate change. So we need to look at ways to fight starvation in the country.
We have a situation in the country whereby 80% of the TB support programme is financed by a foreign budget. If these foreigners withdraw their help, we will die surely. We also have another problem of ZIKA which is a problem coming from Brazil. We therefore need to look for monies so that we can quickly put measures to control TB. Now, turning to the new pandemic called ZIKA. ZIKA is caused by mosquitoes and at times, can be spread through sexual relations. We therefore need to be very careful as Zimbabwe.
We also look at some of the causes of TB, especially in rural areas. In rural areas, people leave in houses such as huts which have no proper ventilation systems. What this means is, when there is no ventilation you then get lots of infections because the rooms are not properly ventilated. We have children who are learning in what were former tobacco bans before the resettlement programme. As a result, there is poor circulation of air and this poses a danger to the pupils in those bans.
We may use more money looking for treatment and yet, the best way would be preventing. We say prevention is better than curing because children who are learning from bans can also be affected by these viruses. We need to construct houses which have windows. When you look at areas like Mukumbura, there are a lot of huts where people leave. In these huts, people will also be using firewood creating more problems. I want to urge us as Members of Parliament to encourage people to build houses with proper ventilation.
We also have these small scale miners who go underground where there is poor or no ventilation. They carry gases and candles, and as a result, they get infected by these diseases because of the poor ventilation. We need to put more money. Let us invest on prevention of these diseases. I will turn back to rural areas; people are travelling 50 to 100 kilometers seeking treatment in the nearest health centres. There were clinics which were built but the problem faced is that in these centres there are no nurses and doctors, hence people have travel to travel long distances so that they can get treatment. Therefore, we appeal to Government to unfreeze nursing posts including resettlement areas. It may look as if we are punishing people for moving into these resettlement areas.
Mr. Speaker Sir, these people also face the problems of paying for transport in those areas. In the rural areas, we used to have health workers but because they were not paid, there was no motivation for them to work. Therefore, Government should be begged to unfreeze nursing positions so that these rural health institutions are staffed properly. We are talking of about US$30 000 to treat a person who has defaulted but can we pay that amount when we are failing to get the little monies for normal treatments.
Mr. Speaker Sir, whenever there is any supplier of medicines, we should continue dealing with that supplier so that people can access medication. We have donors who are not prepared to go into these resettlement areas because they are fighting a bitter war, their kith and kin where removed from these resettlement areas and hence they will not support any project in those areas. Therefore the Government should help these people.
I pay my gratitude to the media for disseminating information on what is happening in rural areas. They tell us of areas where problems are especially on health or on any other problems, even starvation. It is the media which is creating this awareness because if they do not do that we might have people dying and no assistance given to them. I thank you.
HON. MANGAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I also want to add my voice to this important motion from the Committee on Health and Child Care. I am really worried about this tuberculosis disease especially the publicity that it is receiving. I do not think the dangers that we get from this tuberculosis and the publicity that it gets tally. I accompanied my relative to a clinic two weeks ago and was asked to get tested on tuberculosis. He was told to wait for two weeks to get the results and we had to visit a private clinic where the diagnosis was done in one day. Why is it that it takes so many days for diagnosis yet this disease is contagious? I am really worried Mr. Speaker Sir, can the Committee take up the issue of the waiting period, it is long, it has to be short. The patient will be actually spreading the disease when he or she is not yet on drugs.
The other issue on tuberculosis is that it is assumed that most people know about it, yet it is not true. That assumption is actually killing people. Communities should be educated on tuberculosis. The Ministry of Health and Child Care should be allocated a lot of money in terms of publicity so that everyone has got the knowledge especially on the treatment part. I was actually worried and I have heard from the Committee that the cost for resistance drugs cost up to US$30 000 against US$3 000 for normal treatment drugs. When you visit these clinics, at times you are given drugs for three days, I do not know the reason why, maybe there is a shortage of drugs. Right now they are giving drugs that last for three days or three weeks, this will make people abscond because they cannot get money to go to the clinic after every three days. They are saying they are experiencing shortages of drugs in some of the areas, I think the Government should look at that to avoid cases of defaults. The Government should commence the programme of supplying food to these patients. May I hand over my form to the Committee? I thank you.
*HON. MUFUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, let me add my voice to this debate. This is a very big problem especially when you look at what is happening in rural areas. We have very few people who can afford to get to the health centres. Most of these people cannot go for treatment in hospitals because they have no money. My request is that regarding this tuberculosis plague, people need to be educated on how tuberculosis affects health because there is very little difference between HIV and tuberculosis. There is need to educate communities and that we introduce a fund which will look at the treatment of tuberculosis. This amount will be used for the treatment.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in Muzarabani, people have to travel about 50 kilometers to get to the next treatment centre. Therefore, we appeal to the Government to have more nurses who are deployed into these rural areas to specialise on tuberculosis. We have workers who have been working in farms and have since retired. They used to work in tobacco farms, others were driving tractors, these people were negatively affected by tuberculosis because of the nature of their job. Now they are retired and they cannot afford to go to clinics or other rural health centres because of the expenses involved. Hence, we are calling on the Government to increase the number of nurses in rural areas so that people can be treated because this disease is as bad as HIV. I thank you.
HON. RUNGANI: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th February, 2016.
On the motion of HON. RUNGANI seconded by HON. MUKWANGWARIWA, the House adjourned at Sixteen Minutes past Four o’clock p. m. until Tuesday, 9th February, 2016.