The Ministry of Health and Child Care says there has been an overwhelming response from women seeking free maternal service at Harare Central Hospital.

The government’s policy on free maternal health has seen a lot of women seeking help at one of the country’s major referral centre, Harare Central Hospital.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Gibson Mhlanga, said this is being exacerbated by some council clinics that are still charging maternal fees.

He added that they will put in place mechanisms to ensure the policy not to charge for maternal fees is complied with to ensure that the referral hospital only takes care of complicated cases.

The hospital has a capacity to hold about 100 women but is now taking care of between 150 to 200 women at a time.

The development has seen a critical shortage of beds for the maternity ward.

On Thursday (yesterday), the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa visited the maternity and the paediatric wards and donated food stuffs, linen and blankets to all newly born babies.