Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga has been ordered to pay ZWL$900 000 in damages to a woman who suffered a miscarriage because of negligence by health officials at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in 2020.
Valerie Chibaya, with assistance from the Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), instituted legal proceedings against Chiwenga, who doubles as the country’s Vice-President, after her hospital ordeal.
Chibaya filed for damages for pain and suffering in the sum of $800 000, loss of amenities of life of $100 000, contumely ZWL$300 000 and ZWL$281 757,63 for violation of her constitutional rights.
High Court judge Justice Never Katiyo ruled in her favour after a full trial.
Chibaya was awarded ZWL$800 000 for pain and suffering and $100 000 for loss of amenities, with Chiwenga, ordered to settle the damages within 60 days.
Her claim for contumely damages and violation of her constitutional rights was dismissed, with the court reasoning that there was no intention by the health officials to humiliate her.
In her court application, Chibaya said she went to the hospital on June 17, 2020, after experiencing unusual stomach pains when she was 23 weeks pregnant.
She said doctors and nurses did not take her temperature, blood pressure, or sugar levels nor did they do a routine check-up on her, insisting that she got a scan before they could attend to her.
Chibaya was only attended to the following day after her husband begged for help.
In defence, the defendant sought to blame Chibaya for the miscarriage saying she delayed having an Ultrasound Scan.
In a press briefing held yesterday, WLSA director Fadzai Traquino welcomed the ruling as key in the fight for women to enjoy access to sexual reproductive health and maternal health rights.
“Together with our various partners and stakeholders, we have been helping and running various programmes for women and girls. The court’s order is quite progressive as it expands on the meaning and application of the constitutional rights enshrined in section 76,” Traquino said.