Maternity fees rise

Harare City Council clinics have increased the maternity booking fees with more than 200 %, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

The fees were hiked from ZWL25 to ZWL120.

This reporter visited a clinic in the capital and was advised of the changes.

“The maternity booking price has increased to ZWL120 , you should spread the word to your friends and relatives to come prepared for this sudden change,”said a nurse.

Women who came for antenatal check-up were fuming and said it was  outrageous for local clinics to increase prices since it was out of reach of the ordinary citizen.

 “ This is not fair at all, how are people going to afford such a fee I would rather stay at home or go to book in the village,” fumed one woman.

“Is this the government’s way of saying we should not get pregnant at all because this is pathetic, this is a council clinic for crying out loud and they know that pregnant women need these check-ups so they should put an affordable fee, “ she added.

This recent fee increase will impact on the health of the mothers and the unborn babies since pregnant women require regular check-ups .

Medical experts said this development will result in a high infant mortality rate.

“ Most women are going to stop booking due to this change and  risk birth complications , infant mortality and even the risk of transmitting undetected sexuality transmitted infection including HIV to the unborn baby since a mother will not get regular HIV tests they usually get upon booking,” said Catherine Mupatwe a health expert.

This development also comes after the new dispensation had ordered the government to do away with maternity fees in 2017 to all government owned institutions.

Zimbabwe remains one of the few countries in the world that is still recording deaths among pregnant women with a statistical report gathered in 2017 which recorded about 242 deaths.