Government sued over maternal deaths at clinics

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THE Health ministry has been sued over increasing mortality rates and maternal deaths that resulted from alleged closure of municipal clinics since July.
The closure of health facilities followed an industrial action by nurses who had downed tools since May demanding better working conditions and remuneration.
In the application filed before the High Court, Combined Greater Harare Rate Payers Residents and Tenants
Association, Melody Mapani, Aurage Katumbe are the applicants, while the City of Harare, Local Government minister July Moyo, Vice President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube are cited as respondents.
This was after Mapani, Katumbe and several other women had reportedly lost their babies after failing to deliver at a health facility because the clinics were closed.
“There are also credible reports made to the first applicant of other women who lost their babies in circumstances such as the second applicant delivering at home under risky conditions as clinics are closed,” reads the application.
“The conduct of the respondents is a violation of the rights of applicants and residents to the right to health as provided in section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
The application has been filed by Tonderai Bhatasara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and wants the city council to open all its 42 clinics to the public by October 1.
“Before all clinics are opened on October 1 authorities should ensure that there are enough clinics open offering emergency medical treatment including to pregnant women.
“If need be and upon written request from first respondent and fourth respondent shall without delays provide the necessary funds to implement the stated measures,” reads terms of the interim relief being sought.
In the final order, the residents want the closure and failure to proffer medical services declared to be a constitutional infringement on the right to health.

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