marternal health.jpgAll council clinics are set to scrap off maternity user fees after local authorities representatives who had a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe in Harare on Friday unanimously agreed that the fees currently being charged are prohibitive.

 

Mayors and other municipal representatives from across the country who met Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe at a budget consultation meeting in the capital, have recommended reduction in maternity user fees before gradually scrapping them in all council clinics and hospitals.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Khupe had noted with concern the high maternity user fees being charged by clinics which has contributed to high maternal mortality.

 

She promised to lobby cabinet for a subsidy fund specifically for maternity care to be established by the Finance Minister in next year’s budget so that clinics and hospitals can be compensated for the loss of income resulting from the reduction in fees.

 

deputy prime ministere thokozani khupe 04-10-10.jpg“We will talk to the Finance Minister to set aside a subsidy fund in next years’ budget which is going to ensure that every woman does not pay a cent as she performs this important national duty of giving birth,” DPM Khupe said.

 

While acknowledging that maternity user fees are high, Harare City Council Director of Health Services and Administration, Dr Prosper Chaonza said they have been considering reducing  fees from $50 to $30.

 

“If we go down to $30 from the current $50 we should be able to make a difference,” said Dr Chaonza.

 

With all local authorities agreeing that challenges relating to maternity service provision are characterised by unaffordable fees, lack of equipment and financial constraints, analysts say there is need to urgently address the issue to overturn statistics that have put women deaths at birth at 700 out of every 100 000.