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Empowering Health Workers in Zimbabwe /

  • 70% increase in staff attendance during cholera outbreak /
  • Three times as many doctors at district level than at the start of the programme /
  • $178 million disbursed to 20,000 health workers each month /

Getting health workers to work during a cholera epidemic 

In the midst of a cholera epidemic, we served as payment agent to all health workers across Zimbabwe to deliver essential healthcare services. This include incentivisation payments to encourage staff to go to work. Our team in Zimbabwe won the 2012 British Expertise Award for their work on this project.

Our approach

  • Compiling a complete database of health workers in Zimbabwe
  • Creating and distributing attendance registers and timesheets to over 1,400 health institutions
  • Partnering with local banks to send cash allowances to hospitals so that staff could be paid – they were not permitted to hold foreign currency accounts
  • Once bans on foreign currency were lifted, making payment via account transfers a mandatory condition for health workers

Zimbabwean midwife holding a woman's baby.Utilising local knowledge

We made use of long-held local partnerships to provide coverage across Zimbabwe, despite an unreliable transport system made worse by the outbreak of disease. Our local partnerships were also important when managing various currencies and dealing with often unclear donor party procedures.

With the system now in place, periodic spot checks are now carried out on health centres to ensure that no anomalies such as “ghost workers” appear on the payrolls which we administer, removing opportunities for corruption.