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No to extortion on maternal health services in council clinics

by ZUJ
05 Nov 2021 at 06:47hrs | Views
THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) calls upon the Harare City Council to act decisively and stop harbouring and nurturing extortionist practices by health personnel in council clinics against pregnant women seeking maternal health services.

We are reliably informed and have received reports from Mabvuku, Highfield and Mufakose polyclinics of health personnel who are arm-twisting women in labour to pay an extra maternal fee (chebasa) in forex ranging from US$25 to US$40 in return for safe deliveries.

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

We bemoan that some pregnant women who cannot make payments in forex are being neglected, while those who have foreign currency are receipted in Zimdollars as health personnel use their RTGS bank cards to make payments into the council accounts and pocket the US dollars.

The situation has been further worsened by the weak and dysfunctional complaints system that involves perpetrators of corruption in the solution matrix as the sisters-in-charge for some clinics are being fingered in the corruption.

We further condemn the inhumane and degrading treatment pregnant women seeking maternal health services in council clinics are being subjected to and call for professionalism among the health personnel.

Giving birth is a national duty that requires commitment and dedication from those delivering the service and it has a potential to take lives of both the mother and the child.

We reiterate that maternal health is a human right protected under section 76(1) of the Constitution and denying women maternal health services is a serious gross human rights violation.

We would like to warn city health personnel that any further negligence when offering maternal health services will attract litigation against both the personnel involved and the City of Harare as an entity.

We demand immediate action and urgent intervention from the local authority to curb these gross acts of corruption that have crippled municipal maternal health service provision in Harare. –CHRA

Govt must end impunity against journalists

THE Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) on Tuesday joined the rest of the world in marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

The commemoration came against the background of continued operating challenges faced by journalists in the country, especially in this unprecedented COVID-19 predicament.

Journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic not only battled with the risk of contagion, but also faced numerous obstructions such as restricted movement, arrests, beatings and intimidation.

For example, since the onset of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, at least 25 Press freedom violations, including 10 arbitrary arrests, have taken place in the country.

In fact, part of the findings of a September 2021 survey commissioned by ZUJ and funded by the European Union and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation on Challenges Encountered by Zimbabwean Media in Providing Effective Coverage of National Disasters and Public Health Emergencies, cite harassment by the police, "especially junior police officers", as one of the enduring threats to free journalistic enterprise.

"Such police officers were reported to be the most problematic in as far as they appear reluctant to acknowledge that journalists are essential service providers. Respondents complained of being delayed at roadblocks while on assignment," the survey noted.

ZUJ finds this unacceptable, not least that journalists are officially designated as key workers.

It is in this light that ZUJ is bound to agree with suggestions by the survey respondents that part of the solution to end the impunity for crimes against journalists may lie with the enactment of laws with stiff penalties for police officers and other members of the public who harass journalists.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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