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High Court orders facilities reopened for pregnant women

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THE High Court Wednesday ordered the Harare City Council and government to re-open 42 local clinics that had been closed without notice recently.

Justice Edith Mushore granted the order compelling the City Council to immediately ensure that all pregnant women received medical services and that all council clinics be opened and operational by 14 October.

The courts’ decision came after the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) acted on behalf of some Harare residents who sought an order to compel the Harare City Council and central government to open all its 42 clinics, which had been closed to the public.

The residents had wanted the court to order the re-opening on the 1st October and wanted the court to order the City Council to immediately ensure that their clinics offer emergency medical treatment to pregnant women.

They wanted Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube without delay to provide the necessary funds in the re-opening of the clinics.

Without notice, the Harare City Council had closed all its clinics located in various suburbs which offer primary health care to majority of the residents who cannot afford prohibitive charges at private doctors’ medical rooms.

In their application, the residents argued that the conduct of the City Council and central government is a violation of their right to health care as provided for in Section 76 of the Constitution, which states that every Zimbabwean has a right of access to basic health care services.

The residents were represented by Tonderai Bhatasara from ZLHR.