Residents of Harare have welcomed the High Court Judgement issued yesterday compelling the City of Harare and the government to re-open all the 42 clinics to the public and ensure emergency medical services to residents prioritizing pregnant women.
Most Harare council clinics have been closed for a couple of months citing lack of medical equipment by staffers in the middle of a deadly Covid-19 pandemic and have been given until the 14th of October to be fully operational.
Addressing the press earlier today, the Director of Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) Loreen Mupasiri Sani said the closure of clinics has caused untold suffering among pregnant women who have been refused emergency services.
“The closure of clinics has caused untold suffering among pregnant women who have been refused emergency services in council clinics by health personnel who are demanding parallel payment of between US$ 30-50 even though they pay for their maternal fees,” said Sani.
In August, City of Harare announced that only 15 of its 42 clinics were operational.
CHRA called upon the responsible authorities to respect the sanctity of life.
“Cases of women giving birth at clinics’ gate after being denied access to maternal services have been reported in areas like Mabvuku polyclinic. Closure of clinics in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is irresponsible and unacceptable,”she said.
CHRA urged the government to put reasonable fiscal commitment towards health for local authorities in the 2021.
Zimbabwe’s health sector is grossly underfunded compared to neighboring countries in the SADC region to the extent that government in 2019 spent US$41 per capita (per person) on health, which is inadequate.
In a telephone interview with 263Chat, City of Harare Public Relations Officer Michael Chideme, said the local authority has no option other than to abide by the Laws.
“As City Council, we are guided by the law,” she said.
Tonderai Bhatasara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday obtained a court order granted by High Court Judge Justice Edith Mushore compelling the City of Harare to immediately ensure that all pregnant women receive emergency medical services and that all council clinics are opened and operational by 14 October 2020.
The court’s decision came after ZLHR acted on behalf of some Harare residents, who sought an order to compel the City of Harare and the central government to open all its 42 clinics, which had been closed to the public by the local authority owing to lack of resources.