HARDLINE Norton Member of Parliament, Hon Temba Mliswa, will donate his forthcoming salary to struggling health workers in his constituency, whom he says are underappreciated.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
He won a fierce parliamentary election in July as an Independent Candidate to be elected MP for Norton, defeating then Presidential advisor Chris Mutsvangwa.
Hon Mliswa’s pledge comes barely a week after Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Raj Modi, said his would go to charity.
Realising how starved village health workers are remuneration-wise, Hon Mliswa announced at the World Mental Health Day commemorations in Norton that he would come to their rescue.
“These village health workers do a lot of work only to be paid $15 per month. When you see them working it then shows that it’s not only for the money but it is a gift. This coming month I’m going to pledge my pay to these people,” he said.
Hon Mliswa said he would use his influence as Mines Parliamentary Portfolio committee chairperson to call on mining companies to have corporate social responsibility plans that prioritise mental health.
Some of the health workers who spoke to journalists expressed joy in this new development.
“Some of us take care of our families since our husbands are unemployed so with this laudable news, we would like to thank Honourable Mliswa for coming through for us,” said one health worker.
Another said being recognised in such a way was an honourable and noble deed by Hon Mliswa.
“As village health workers, we do all the donkey work of checking up on defaulters if medicine, clean health facilities, doing door to door visits on patients and what we get for all this is peanuts. But when Honorable Mliswa announced this heart warming news, it shows that our efforts are being noticed,” said the health worker with over 10 years working experience.
Also speaking at the event representing Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo was the ministry’s director for laboratory services Mr Douglas Mangwanya who noted how stigma delayed seeking of treatment among mental health patients.
“While we provide mental health services, support and promote recovery for individuals in need, the overwhelming numbers of those struggling is a reminder of how often as a community we delay in taking action.
“This is mainly because of stigma surrounding mental disorders. Unfortunately, people experiencing mental disorders often feel embarrassed and fearful due to persistent stigma,” said the Minister.
The event was held under the theme Mental Health and Young People in a Changing World.
“Every year on the 10th of October we celebrate Mental Health Day to draw importance on mental health,” said World Health Organisation Zimbabwe Representative Mr Alex Garasira.
Substance abuse and misuse among youths has led to the rise of admissions in mental health institutions.