At a Constitutional Health Rights Training recently hosted by WLSA in collaboration with CHRA and the Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives in Mbare and Mufakose, women participants revealed how they have suffered at the hands of municipal health personnel at Edith Clinic.
The women allege that young women who fell pregnant are tormented and persecuted by the health personnel on the reasons why they fell pregnant, while under age girls infected with sexually transmitted diseases are not attended. On the other hand, pregnant women who are due for delivery are required to pay entrance fees ranging from US10-20 to be admitted at Edith Clinic.
“You have to bless the municipal police officer at the gate with 10US in order to be admitted at the clinic to give birth” said one of the female participants.
The situation is even worse after the partial closure of Matapi Satellite Clinic as the clinic is now just distributing contraceptives and not offering any other services.
The woman lamented over denial to access birth records with health personnel citing shortage of material to process the birth records.
It is disturbing that those who fail to access birth records are then penalized US$5 as ” search fees”.
The women cited that birth cards are now being sold for US7 at Edith Clinic even though they are supposed to be given for free after delivery.
Mr Nyatsuro from the Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives urged women to use the available complaint mechanisms to resolve the issues.
The pattern of corruption and negligence around maternal health services is worrying in Harare as it is a major threat to the lives of women and their children.
Lack of access to birth records have rendered the score of children without birth certificates.
Furthermore the unabated corrupt practices have pushed pregnant women to give birth within their homes or through traditional risky means.
The residents resolved to petition both the Council and Parliament of Zimbabwe on the deterioration of maternal health services.
CHRA calls Harare City Council to put up an Investigation Committee in terms of Section 100 of the Urban Councils Act 29:15 on the matters being raised by women access to maternal health care services in Harare.
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association