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Maternity fees costing lives - WAG
Mbanje, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
November 03, 2013
Failure by government
to scrap maternity user fees is significantly contributing to the
galloping maternal mortality in the country, a local women’s
lobby group has said.
Action Group (WAG) director, Edna Masiyiwa blasted the Ministry
of Health and Child Care for failing to fully roll out the “free
maternity user policy” which would encourage more women to
give birth in health facilities.
At least 960
maternal deaths occur per 1 000 live births in the country.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital during the commemoration of the United
Nations Day which ran under the theme For Safer Motherhood in Zimbabwe
last week, Masiyiwa said a lot of women were opting to give birth
at home because they were failing to raise the user fees.
arise when one has given birth outside the health facilities, chances
are that they might die, as there would be no skilled personnel
to help them,” she said.
The WAG director
indicated that health institutions were charging between US$25 and
US$30 for maternity fees.
figure might appear small but an average woman in this country cannot
afford it. We call it ‘urban poverty’, and we implore
the responsible authorities to address this matter urgently,”
said Masiyiwa. “The policy, if implemented, will compel every
pregnant woman to give birth in a health facility.”
of Health and Child Care, David Parirenyatwa said the health institutions
were defying the government directive to scrap the user fees for
pregnant women and children less than five years of age.
very unfortunate, but the health institutions are disobeying a government
directive saying they will collapse if they give the service for
free,” he said.
said until funds were secured to cater for the facility, it would
be difficult to take any action against the institutions which include
In August this
year, Harare City Council (HCC) health services director, Stanley
Mungofa admitted that local authority clinics were charging for
He said scrapping
user fees would seriously compromise service delivery in the whole
Council of Chiefs
representative, Chief Nyamukoho from Mutoko said male involvement
was central in reducing maternal deaths.
He left the
crowd in stiches when he explained a new concept of roping in more
men called “Perekedza mimba yako”, (accompany your pregnant
wife to the clinic).
introduced a concept of “Perekedza mimba yako” whereby
we try to encourage men to also take an active role in ensuring
their partners get the necessary assistance from health facilities,”
said Chief Nyamukoho.
co-odinator, Alain Noudehou said it was distressing that the country
was recording 960 maternal deaths per 1 000 live births.
“Pregnancy is not a disease but it is killing women at an
alarming rate. We need a holistic solution for this problem,”
most women were not seeking postnatal care (PNC) despite the many
complications that are encountered during that period.
more than 60% assisted deliveries, only half turn up for PNC and
yet it is a critical part of the service,” said Noudehou.
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