Despite the introduction of the user fee policy by the government, some local hospitals and clinics in Bulawayo have not been complying with the government’s directive.

The user fee policy is an approach that is meant to improve maternal health outcomes by reducing barriers to accessing maternal health services, such as non registration fees among other related fees for expecting mothers.

Women in Bulawayo say despite the scraping of these fees, local hospitals have not been complying with the government’s policy which is prohibiting them from doing regular visits to doctors.

“There is no such thing as such non-payment we still pay when we are expecting,” said some of the women.

Speaking during a public hearing conducted by the Women and Youth Affairs Committee, the committee’s chairperson Honourable Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said residents do not have enough knowledge that can enable them to claim their rights for free services in clinics and hospitals.

“As a committee we are just hearing of such things and people do not have much knowledge about this policy which has so many bad implications to both mothers and children as they grow,” she said.

Another issue of importance that was raised is that of health effects of hormonal contraceptives for women.

The clinical director for Mpilo Hospital Dr Solwayo Ngwenya asserted that women are educated on the effects before prescription of proper contraceptives.

“Women are educated about contraceptives each time they come and they get to make their own choices as to what contraceptives to use,” said Dr Ngwenya.

Most people could not access both public and private hospitals and the government introduced the user fee policy early this year in order for everyone to get services at hospitals.