Zim Plans To Scrap Martenity Fees
Harare, March 15, 2012 - Zimbabwe in partnership with donors will scrap maternity fees for expecting mothers later in the year to prevent maternal deaths which are over 790 deaths per 100,000 expecting mothers.
Donors have pledged over half a billion United States dollars towards a project which will see pregnant women accessing maternal health for free in the country's health institutions.
Expecting mothers have been paying user fees of up to $100 to give birth while those who have failed to settle their debts have been 'unlawfully' detained in hospitals and clinics until their pay their arrears.
"The statistics are that 790 out of 100,000 mothers are dying (at birth) and that's genocide. Those are huge figures, the Ministry of Health will announce a date in which these fees will be scrapped in not too distant future, very soon," Tendai Biti said addressing journalists.
"The donor community have put in about $525 million in the health trust for user fees. If you go on the internet the British government on its own through the DFID two weeks ago put in an additional £100million again in the same programme.
"We as government we have budgeted $10 million, we have not disbursed this yet to the Ministry of Health but that is what we have provided to complement and supplement what donors have put in the health trust,” he added.
Zimbabwe which has been failing to raise enough funds for the education and health sectors have largely been depending on donors to help sustain requirements in the sector. Donors have helped the country buy medicines and pay incentives to health personnel in hospitals which were dilapidated by lack of funds.