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Council officials in birth records scam

by Staff reporter
01 Mar 2022 at 05:28hrs | Views
Officials at Harare City Council clinics are allegedly demanding kickbacks ranging between US$5 and US$10 to issue out birth records for newly born children, preventing from accessing the critical documents.

Further allegations are that personnel at the clinics are creating an artificial shortage of birth record books to force desperate parents to fork out bribes.

Those refusing to pay inducements are being denied the birth records.

Birth records are a prerequisite for acquiring birth certificates.

Speaking during a recent maternal health meeting in Mabvuku facilitated by Combined Harare Residents Association, women alleged that they were failing to access birth records and child health cards for their new-borns.

Mrs Prudence Hanyani from Ward 19 in Mabvuku called for the intervention of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to stop the madness.

"This is getting out of hand. Can ZACC intervene or legal action be taken?" she said.

 The delays or non-issuance of birth records hinder women from accessing birth certificates, which officially record names of their children.

Another woman, who requested for anonymity for fear of victimisation, said: "I was told that we do not have birth records at the clinic by a nurse, and every time I go there the statement remains the same."

In a statement, CHRA implored the Harare City Council to investigate the issue and to take action as the situation had gone out of hand.

 CHRA also said reports from women who gave birth at Glenview, Mabvuku and Highfield clinics alleged that the health personnel demanded bribes in order to issue out birth records.

A woman who gave birth a Highfield Polyclinic said: "I gave birth six months ago at Highfield polyclinic but I was not given a birth record for my child. The nurses are demanding US$5 to issue one."

According to council policy, the registration fees which women pay to access maternal health services include provision of birth records and child birth cards without an extra payment.

The national Constitution demands that every child be given a name and family name, and the prompt provision of a birth certificate.

Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme yesterday denied the allegations saying if anything of that nature was happening, it should be reported.

 "There is no law or by-law that says people should pay that. We do not have a resolution of that nature.

"However, we will investigate, but if it is happening we do not condone that," he said.

Corruption has become a common practice at most council clinics over the years, seriously impacting on access to maternal and other health care services in Harare.

Source - The Herald
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