Epworth expectant mothers held to ransom as nurses demand bribes

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  • Nurses demanding cash upfront from desperate, mothers
  • Nurses claim clinic has no resources

EXPECTANT mothers are being held to ransom at Epworth Clinic with nurses demanding that patients pay an underhand fee in United States (US) dollars before they can be attended to, Zim Morning Post can reveal.

An investigation carried out by this publication unearthed that nurses at Epworth Poly Clinic in Harare are demanding payments of up to US$10 upfront before they can attend to expectant mothers at the institution.

Besides the US$10 paid before checking in, the nurses also charge between US$6 to US$10 to stitch-up those who give birth by Caesarean section.

One lady who had accompanied her pregnant daughter said the nurses had threatened that without the US$10, the meagrely paid nurses would not bother attend to her daughter.

“They looked at my daughter’s purse and said I should give the nurse US$10 if I wanted the nurses to take extra care on her or I risk losing my grandson; this is despite that we had paid the maternity fees,” Memory Zaware, who was waiting to take home her daughter and grandson.

Allegations are that nurses at institution leave expectant mothers unattended to if they did not get their dues, in the process exposing unborn babies to some other complications.

Another woman said she was left on the hospital bed for close to 20 minutes, with the baby on the pathway because her husband had not paid the mandatory US$10 ‘personal’ cash to the nurses.

“The nurses said my pathway was too small to deliver the baby naturally, hence I was supposed to go under the scissor, so they told me to call my husband first and get the assurance that the money for the stitches would be paid. They only stitched me up 20 minutes later after my husband came with the requested money,” said the woman who declined to say her name for fear of victimisation.

She also said after the Caesarean section, the nurses would not stitch her up for more than two hours until the payment was made.

Some patients without the US$10, in most instances, even leave Epworth Clinic unstitched, exposing them to bacterial infections.

In their defense, the nurses at Epworth Poly Clinic said the institution was underfunded and had no resources, hence some nurses had to purchase materials for use while in the way of duty.

“We give every patient here the option to go and buy at the pharmacy or from some nurses who sell these materials at this clinic,” said a nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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