By Makanaka Masenyama
HUNDREDS of Covid-19 frontline health workers Friday were allowed to purchase tonnes of roller meal at a subsidised price of $70 per 10kg bag.
The programme was facilitated by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) which has been distributing the staple among Zimbabweans at affordable rates.
The sale of maize conducted at Parirenyatwa hospital was done by millers in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Nurses Association.
Speaking to the media at the event, GMAZ deputy chairman Chipo Nheta said the subsidy programme was a deliberate effort by the cereal processors to allow workers who are at the forefront of fighting Covid-19 to access the scarce staple at affordable prices.
“This is part of the association’s appreciation of the work of health workers who are front-liners in the fight against Covid-19, who cannot leave their duties and queue in the shops for mealie meal,” said Nheta.
“The grain millers association has embarked on a national programme to assist the nurses association after we have been approached by the nurses’ association president Enock Dongo.
“We then took the request to the Ministry of Industry headed by Honourable Doctor Sekai Nzenza and she approved us to assist staff helping out with Covid-19 issues including nurses via the national subsidy programme.
“We therefore started last week by providing the nurses in Bulawayo and this week, we are now providing 60 tonnes through a subsidy programme to Parirenyatwa, Harare and Chitungwiza hospitals.”
Zimbabwe Nurses Association President Enock Dongo thanked GMAZ and government for a programme he said has helped health workers get roller meal easily.
“The roller meal is going for all health workers including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, general hands and nurse aids who are on the frontline of Covid-19 issues,” Dongo said.
Roller meal being sold for $70 is available for US$5 per bag at black market prices.
However, this is beyond the reach of many workers who earn salaries in Zimbabwean dollars.
GMAZ Media Relations Manager Garikai Chaunza said the programme shall go on for as long as government maintained its subsidy on grain.