EPWORTH women say they are facing challenges in accessing sexual reproductive health services (SRHS) and quality maternal healthcare at public health institutions.
This came out during a community engagement meeting in Harare, which discussed the challenges faced by women at the grassroots in accessing SRHS at public health facilities.
The discussions were facilitated by the Zimbabwe Women against Corruption (ZWAC).
A resident from Overspill in Epworth, Rudo Soroti said: “At Dombo Hospital we are not given birth records after giving birth because they want bribes. This has led to some of the children getting to Grade 7 without being issued with birth records and government schools are refusing to enrol them.”
Other residents said baby record cards were being sold to them at prices ranging from US$3 to US$5.
They said at Dombo Hospital, patients are ordered to wash linen with water that they have to buy.
Another Epworth resident, Loveness Chagunda from Makomo area said she gave birth at home because she was scared of ill-treatment at hospitals.
“I gave birth to my child in 2018 when I was 39 years old. I decided to give birth at home because mothers that are above 39 are insulted for getting pregnant at an old age,” she said.
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Overspill community leader Betty Rambwi said sex workers aged 14 and above were resorting to abortion using well-known traditional healers and prophets who charge them US$80 and above for the services.
“The abortion issue is getting out of hand. Women fear to report these issues because of victimisation,” Rambwi said.
ZWAC founding director Sandra Matendere (pictured) said her organisation would educate women on sexual reproductive health rights and to participate in campaigns against corruption in the health sector.
“We encourage women to report these cases whenever they occur. We want them to be empowered to report corruption whenever it occurs in their community,” she said.
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