Harare City Council has denied reports circulating on social media that alleged that some of the local government’s health institutions were charging for services in United States dollars only.
One message circulating on social media suggested that the Dzivarasekwa Poly Clinic is charging pregnant mothers an extra fee of US$25.
The post suggested that officials are forcing women in labour to pay the money saying that is the only way they can “see their babies.”
Those who refuse to pay are referred to Harare Hospital as a way of fixing them.
The message suggested that the officials involved in this scandal will then pay on behalf of the patients using the local currency and pocket the forex. They pay at the official bank rate that is very low compared to the parallel market rate.
Harare City, however, denied the allegations. Said the local government authority:
Council accepts payment for maternity fees via all forms of payment i.e cash, swipe, ecocash, onemoney, telecash & hard currency.
We do not insist on payment in US$ as is being inferred in social media groups.
We are investigating the allegations in all our health facilities.
Responding to the local authority’s notice, some were suggested that Harare City was not in touch with reality on the ground.
One Tatenda Chidanikasaid the cashiers just say all the electronic platforms (Ecocash, Telecash, One Money, Swipe) are down forcing clients to pay in cash.
This comes when the foreign exchange rate is ballooning owing to the scarcity of foreign currency on both the formal and informal markets.