The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has on behalf of some Harare residents, asked the City of Harare (CoH) to urgently facilitate that expecting women have access to adequate maternal health services at polyclinics or face legal action.
This came after some residents were denied access to register for purposes of accessing maternal health care services at council-run clinics.
ZLHR recently dispatched letters to the Director of City Health Department reminding the local authority that Section 76 of the Constitution provides that every citizen & permanent resident of Zimbabwe has the right to have access to basic health care services.
This include reproductive health care-services & no person may be refused emergency medical treatment in any health institution.
ZLHR says being citizens of Zimbabwe, residents of Harare have a right to access basic health care services, including access to maternal health services which include antenatal care, booking, follow up visits & delivery.
“We also stated that CoH has powers to provide, operate or carry on services for the care & welfare of newly-born infants & for the giving of advice, guidance & instructions to expecting women & mothers of newly-born infants.
“CoH also has power to provide & operate hospitals, clinics & dispensaries & to take any measures or provide any facilities which the Council considers necessary for the maintenance of health, including dental health.
“As such, it is pertinent that maternal health services which include antenatal care, booking, follow up visits & delivery ought to be accessible to residents at all council polyclinics.
“Additionally, Section 48 of the Constitution states that every person has a right to life hence if residents are continuously denied access to maternal health services including antenatal care, booking & follow up visits, this sad state of affairs could pose a danger to residents’ lives & that of their unborn babies.
“We told CoH that failure to urgently facilitate that expectant women have access to adequate maternal health services at polyclinics will leave us with no option but to institute legal proceedings,” says ZLHR.