Bulawayo Senator and MDC-T vice President, Thokozani Khupe has moved a motion in parliament to have maternal user fees scrapped in order to address high maternal mortality rate.
Speaking in parliament yesterday, Khupe said maternal mortality rate had increased as a result of expensive user fees women are forced to pay hence opting for traditional midwives.
“I am pretty sure that now it has increased because women are made to pay user fees resulting in them not giving birth in either a clinic or a hospital. They end up giving birth from home and thereby some of them end up dying, so the maternal mortality rate increases from time to time,” said Khupe.
“The campaign on accelerated reduction of maternal mortality in Africa says, ‘no woman will die while giving birth.’ As a result of that, Zimbabwe came up with a policy that Pregnant women will not pay user fees when they go to health facilities to give birth because when women are giving birth, they are performing a national duty.
“The sad reality Mr. Speaker Sir is that, this policy is not being followed because women are made to pay user fees when they go to give birth. I therefore request that the Minister of Health and Child Care comes to this august House with a Ministerial Statement so that he clarifies whether women should pay or not. We have been raising this issue time and time again but we are told that women are not paying whereas on the ground it is not true, women are made to pay,” she added.
Maternity fees have increased by 1,334% from ZWL$120 to USD$25, something that has been cited as barrier for women to use formal health systems.