Residents of Harare, Zimbabwe, have accused nurses of turning clinics into illegal, yet highly lucrative foreign currency trading centers, the New Zimbabwe reported Monday.
Locals complained at a neighborhood meeting in the Highfields suburb of Harare that they are unable to access reliable healthcare services at public clinics and have threatened to petition parliament to force changes over such neglect.
“Our nurses are not receipting United States dollars we give them,” one woman said at the meeting. “Instead, they are taking the money and using their Ecocash accounts to pay for us while giving us receipts reflecting payment in bond notes.”
After the meeting’s conclusion, a CHRA official confirmed that nurses were prioritizing patients with American dollars, presumably because of the worthlessness of Zimbabwe’s notoriously unstable currency. Inflation of the Zimbabwean dollar currently runs at 500 percent annually.
“During a community meeting held at Zimbabwe Hall in Highfields, the residents revealed Highfields Polyclinic nurses had turned into money changers as they are prioritizing patients with United States Dollars and paying for them using their Ecocash and bank accounts,” the office said.
“Residents alleged that, despite the fact there is no medication at the clinic, nurses are selling medical drugs and medication in United States dollars outside the clinic premises,” they added.
As well as allegedly engaging in illegal practices, it also emerged during the public meeting that only eight of the 42 council clinics in Harare were currently operational as a majority of nurses have been on strike for the past two months protesting their meager salaries and poor working conditions.
Residents also complained that despite paying for consultations, they are not being provided with medication and instead asked to buy their drugs at a private pharmacy.
“It is disappointing that the health personnel is selling drugs while we are told that there is no medication at the clinics, these drugs are sold by night after working hours,” said another woman, who identified herself as Mai Tawanda.
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s socialist regime is currently overseeing a major economic and humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. According to Transparency’s Global Corruption Index 2019, Zimbabwe ranks 158 out of 180, placing it among the top 25 most corrupt countries in the world based on public perception.