The Catholic Bishops of Zambia have demanded that midterm gratuity for MPs should be deferred.
In a pastoral letter made released Sunday, the Bishops said in order to mitigate the effects of the global economic downturn they said that sacrifices need to be made by everyone in the country.
The Bishops who assembled in a full plenary meeting from 13-18 July 2009 discussed various issues affecting the country with the health sector being top on the agenda.
They said that in this vein, Government, Politicians and Members of Parliament must be seen to lead the way in making these sacrifices.
They add that it is therefore not morally correct- for Members of Parliament to receive hefty mid-term gratuities- in face of such national difficulty- saying these gratuities can be deferred.
The Bishops say they commend Government for outlining cost-saving measures- as presented by Republican President- Rupiah Banda during his press conference on24 June 2009 and pray that the measures will be effectively implemented and monitored.
On the health sector the Bishops say the recent revelations of gross financial mismanagement- in the Ministry of Health- and the strike by medical personnel- have not only highlighted some of the serious challenges facing our health delivery system- but have also resulted in untold suffering among our people.
They say in their day-to-day contacts- particularly with the rural and peri-urban poor,- they have witnessed firsthand, the suffering of people.
They say the truth of the matter is that people are suffering and dying because they are unable to access adequate health care.
The Bishops say as stakeholders in the health sector, managing some grant-aided health institutions, they are gravely concerned that Government has not been regularly disbursing funds to most health institutions since February 2009.
They say when disbursements have been made; they often fall far short of the requirements and come too late.
The Bishops have since appealed to cooperating partners and donors to consider devising a workable and satisfactory system- that will facilitate direct funding to Church-run health institutions.