The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has raised concerns over reports of Harare City Council health personnel extorting foreign currency from pregnant women in return for safe delivery.
There are allegations that nurses at council clinics are asking pregnant mothers to pay a minimum of US$ 1 for them to be attended to each time they go for routine medical check-ups.
Those who fail to pay are made to queue outside the premises and are attended last, or even told to come the next day.
Sources told this publication that the rouge nurses and midwives at these council clinics even demand a minimum US$ 10 from expecting mothers on the day of delivery.
CHRA in a statement this Wednesday expressed concern over the errant behavior by council workers.
“It is disturbing that pregnant women who are not able to pay the bribe are threatened with not receiving medical attention or referred to Mbuya Nehanda or Sally Mugabe Maternal hospitals. We bemoan that some pregnant women who cannot make payments in forex are being neglected or not served, while those who have foreign currency are receipted in RTGS as health personnel use their RTGS bank cards to make payments into the Council accounts and they keep the US dollars
“We further condemn the inhuman and degrading treatment being experienced by pregnant women seeking maternal health services in council clinics and call for professionalism among the health personnel,” said CHRA
The residents association further called on the Harare City council to take stern action against the health personnel.
“The Combined Harare Residents Association calls upon the Harare City Council to act decisively, stop harboring and nurturing extortion practices by health personnel in council clinics among pregnant women seeking maternal health services.
“We would like to warn City Health personnel in Council clinics that any further negligence when offering maternal health services will attract litigation targeting both the personnel involved and also the City of Harare as an entity. We demand immediate action and urgent interventions from the local authority to curb these gross acts of corruption that have crippled municipal maternal health service provision in Harare.” noted the association.
Harare City was not available for comment at the time of publishing.
Reports suggest that health personnel from Mabvuku, Highfields and Mufakose Poly Clinics are arm twisting women in labor to pay a personal extra maternal fee in forex ranging between USD25-40 in return for safe deliveries.