Week 44

Een wekelijkse selectie artikelen uit Zimbabwaanse kranten

TB vaccine: WHO expert explains why it’s taken 100 years for a scientific breakthrough, and why it’s such a big deal

The BCG vaccine for TB has been used for 100 years. It is largely effective for children under five, but less so in older people and can’t be used on patients who have certain medical conditions. Today we’re the closest we’ve ever been to discovering a vaccine that might replace or complement it. Charles Shey Wiysonge, the World Health Organization’s Regional Adviser for Immunisation, discusses the latest developments in the fight against one of the world’s deadliest diseases. 

TB is a global health emergency. About 2 billion people are currently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and of those, 5% to 10% may become ill with TB and will potentially transmit the bacterium.  

In 2021, nearly 10.6 million people developed TB disease and 1.6 million died. We urgently need new tools to fight TB, including new and improved vaccines. 

The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine has saved tens of millions of lives and is effective in children under the age of five in preventing TB deaths and severe forms of the disease.  


Zvishavane farmers venture into macadamia production | ZBC NEWS (state owned)

promoter Mr Elvis Nyanhongo noted that the initiative is meant to change people’s lives, especially in rural communities. 

“A tree can produce between 30 and 50kg if well maintained. Currently, good quality nuts are selling at US$4 per kg, meaning that from a single plant, a farmer can realise US$120 to US$200 at peak harvest. With 20 plants, one household can earn between US$2 400 to US$4 000 per harvest which is enough to transform and urbanise rural areas,” he said. 

Zvishavane District Agritex Officer Mrs Ellen Chivi noted that macadamia production dovetails with the government’s thrust of empowering citizens for improved livelihoods. 


Zimbos endure agony as prices skyrocket

ZIMBABWEANS have been pushed deeper into economic misery as the local currency continues on a free fall, pushing prices of basic commodities and services beyond reach of most poor families. 

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat), the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) rose from ZWL$95 462,53 in September to ZWL$105 072 in October for one individual. 

“The food poverty line (FPL) for one person in October 2023 was ZWL$80  512. The TCPL for one person in October 2023 was ZWL$105 072,” ZimStat said. 

Employees have witnessed an erosion of their salaries as the economy continues on a tailspin. 

Businesses and service providers are forward pricing to hedge against losses as the local currency loses value on the market. 

The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of October 2023 as measured by all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 103,44%. 


Brain drain hits Lupane University

LUPANE State University (LSU) experienced high staff turnover in the past two years due to the current harsh economic environment leading to an exodus of professionals from the institution. 

According to the latest report for 2021, the Auditor-General recently said the high staff turnover resulted in other departments being understaffed. 

“The university experienced high staff turnover resulting in the finance, internal audit function, procurement and stores departments being short-staffed. As a result, creditors and bank reconciliations were not being prepared on time contrary to the university’s procedures manual. 

The report said LSU did not upgrade its Mopane management information system, which was being used for students’ databases and as a result, the system produced inconsistent data for students and results listings. 

It was recommended that the university should consider engaging an IT expert to perform an evaluation of the Mopane system and rectify all anomalies.


50 exceptional women honoured | The Sunday Mail (state owned)

Dubbed 50 Most Inspirational Women in Zimbabwe 2023, the awards were held under the theme “GRIT: Gumption, Resilience, Integrity, Tenacity”. 

Speaking at the event, Women Corporate Directors Network Zimbabwe (WCDNZ) chairperson Mrs Lucy Mary Marowa said women from diverse sectors were recognised for their leadership excellence. 

“The event is a celebration of the amazing accomplishments of women across Zimbabwe, who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, resilience and tenacity in their fields,” she said. 

Women and gender affairs chief director (Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development) Mrs Lillian Matsika-Takaendese, who was the guest of honour, said recognising outstanding women 
in the corporate sector was a noble initiative.


Winner of albinism pageant says Zimbabwe event made her feel beautiful and provided sense of purpose

“A beauty pageant held this month in Zimbabwe is seen by its contestants and organizer as a way to push back against prejudice and promote understanding of people living with albinism.” 

Albinism, an inherited genetic condition that reduces melanin pigment production, is “still profoundly misunderstood,” according to the U.N. human rights agency. People with the condition have pale-colored skin, hair and eyes, are vulnerable to sun exposure and bright light, and often have eyesight problems and are prone to developing skin cancer. 


Switzerland injects US$60 million for developmental projects in Zimbabwe | ZBC NEWS (state owned)

SWITZERLAND has launched a US$60 million fund under a new bilateral cooperation programme with Zimbabwe, as the two countries continue to strengthen relations. 

The cordial relations between Zimbabwe and Switzerland continue to bear fruit, with the latest development set to see the implementation of various projects to improve livelihoods in once marginalised areas. 

While addressing guests at his residence in Harare Thursday evening, Switzerland Ambassador to Zimbabwe His Excellency Stephane Rey pledged his country’s continued support to Zimbabwe’s developmental agenda. 

“Our bilateral relations are perhaps best illustrated by our collaboration in development cooperation. Switzerland is a long-term development partner to Zimbabwe in international cooperation. Our cooperation has grown substantially over the years to the extent that today I am proud to officially launch a new bilateral Swiss Cooperation Program with Zimbabwe that is starting now and will run until 2026,” he said. 


Presidential inputs gobble $800 billion government funds

Input scheme viewed as a Zanu PF gimmick to maintain rural support 

The presidential agricultural inputs scheme which distributes free seed and fertiliser to communal farmers under Pfumvudza has gobbled ZW$828 billion government budget in 2023, parliament heard Tuesday. 

Presenting the ministry’s 2024 budget expectations before parliament’s lands committee Wednesday, chief finance officer in the ministry, Peter Mudzamiri said the biggest chunk of the 2023 budget went to presidential inputs. 

The amount was more than the funds spent on key projects such as construction of dams. 

“Agriculture finance cooperation took $5,5 billion and then the presidential input programme took about $828 billion,” Mudzamiri said. 

He added, “dam construction took $224 billion, the rest of the other ministry land items took $227 billion, the total of all these is $1,5 trillion.” 


Mpilo, Pari secure first-ever MRI scans | The Sunday News (state owned)

THE Government has acquired state-of-the-art Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines for Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare in a development that is set to reduce the cost to patients requiring the services as well as general improvement of health service provision in the country. 

The machines are in the process of being installed at the two hospitals as the Second Republic continues to walk the talk on leaving no one and no place behind in the provision of health services. MRI scan services have only been available at private health institutions costing at least US$500 per scan, a cost that many patients could not afford. An MRI scan is used to diagnose conditions that affect soft tissue damage, cancers, tumours, ligament damage, joint injury or disease. 


How women acquired wealth under Ndebele customs

Ancient Ndebele customs were devised to ensure that women acquired cattle they could permanently own and utilise for sustenance. Cattle were also spiritual assets as they were a medium to access the ancestors. 

Inkomo yohlanga -This female cow was given to the girl’s mother by the groom during the marriage ceremony. This cow was not part of the lobola cattle. Where the groom was constrained, the father-in-law had to give one to his wife. This cow was in honour of the woman’s clan. 

Isipho – this beast was given as a present to the bride by her maternal uncle to celebrate her marriage. The more uncles the bride had the more cattle she would accumulate. 

Igula lomntwana (the baby’s calabash) – A father had to give his daughter a female beast on her marriage to accompany her /ukuphelekezela. The cow remained the father’s but she could use it’s milk and also acquire its offsprings as hers. 


ED extends US$ use to 2030

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the use of the United States dollar as a legal tender to 2030 as the redollarisation juggernaut rolls on. 

The use of the US$ under a dual currency regime was supposed to end at the end of 2025. 

The extension, which came via Presidential Powers Regulations, was contained in Statutory Instrument (SI) 218 of 2023 published yesterday in a Government Gazette. 

“The Exchange Control Act is amended in section 11 by the repeal of subsection (2a) and substitution of—(2a) The provision of the Schedule, in so far as they expressly or impliedly permit the settlement of any transaction or the payment for goods and services in foreign currency, shall, notwithstanding Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019, be valid until 31 December 2030,” the SI read. 

SI 142 of 2019 made the Zimdollar as the sole legal tender. 

The US$ was readmitted as a legal tender in 2020 as part of measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Vehicle scandal erupts in govt

Revelations by acting Auditor-General Rhea Kujinga show that while millions of dollars were used to buy service vehicles between 2021 and 2022, most of them were not delivered. The Auditor-General’s findings for the year-ended 31 December 2022 show that government ministries and commissions procured a number of motor vehicles from various service providers during the year, and 74 motor vehicles had not been delivered at the time of audit. 

“The number includes 16 motor vehicles that were purchased in 2021. There is a need for ministries and commissions to have tighter clauses in contracts and monitor contract performance as some suppliers lack the capacity to deliver the motor vehicles as per the contract awarded. Public service delivery is compromised if assets procured are not delivered on time,” reads the report. 


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