Chief imposes hefty fines for home deliveries

HARARE - Home deliveries have gone down in Wedza as traditional leaders fine mothers giving birth in unsafe conditions at home, a village head claims.

Village head Simon Musanhu said the move is meant to promote the uptake of antenatal care services in line with the country’s target to eliminate mother to child HIV transmission in 24 months.

“The traditional midwives you (government) trained had become the problem and stumbling block to antenatal care,” Musanhu said at an Organisation for Public Health Interventions and Development (Ophid) strategic meeting called to brainstorm ways to overcome gender-based barriers to Elimination of Mother To Child Transmission (EMTCT) last week.

“If a midwife goes against that, then the chief gets a goat.

“The mother parts with a cock and a goat because you would have aided and abetted a crime,” he said, adding that cases have gone down from seven last year to zero this year.

Musanhu, who represented 67 villages under Chief Svosve, said a community health committee manages the implementation of a cocktail of measures to fight HIV.

Mash East hosts 208 health institutions, according to Mash East provincial medical director Simukai Zizhou.

The village head said the traditional midwives in his area have assumed a new role in fighting the epidemic.

“They have been helping mothers to deliver babies from pregnancies they do not have medical history on but now they are propagators and supervisors of mothers in their sub-communities,” he said.

Ophid country director, Barbra Engelsmann, said field experience has shown that in some cases, gender can create barriers for the uptake of health services, and as a result can limit uptake of EMTCT or HIV prevention services.

United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said during her inaugural UN human rights fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe, in May last year, that sanctions were responsible for the high number of home deliveries.

“My call for the lifting of sanctions was on the basis that I found that from talking to ordinary people on the ground that sanctions were affecting ordinary people,” she said.

National Aids Council estimates that Zimbabwe has about 64 000 mothers in need of EMTC services but the number could be much higher now, with the newly-adopted WHO guidelines which require all HIV positive pregnant mothers to be immediately put on ARVs.

Comments (5)

This is not about encouraging safe delivery but geedness. Chiefs are greed. And if she does not have the goat what happens? I hate people who are always out to fix the poor.

Maita Manyuka - 17 December 2013

Iro ibenzi rachief zvokwadi unoti kuzvarira kumba kuda here kana chipatara chiri50km away unoda kuti vanhu vadii . Tinoziva madzimai mazhinji kumaruzeva anonogarira kwemwedzi yese muzvimachacha uye kunodiwa mari kuchipatara saka unoti inobvepi . Ngaudze kuti Hurumende yeZANU ivake zvipatara padhuze nevanhu hakuna zvose zvakadaro zvinomboitika . Kukara kwako chief uchiudza solutions yabere kuda kupedzera vanhu svishoma zvavainazvo paruzevha indaba usina kukwana Nduna pfutseki

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 17 December 2013

Why the penalty be given to the Chief instead of the sate so that its used to create affordable facilities for those who can't afford hospital fees. Selfishness is blind honestly.

Ziziharinanyanga - 17 December 2013

guys can we have constructive ideas as far as this issue is concerned .Home delivery is by choice ,labour is about 8hrs or over with an option of 8 months preparation ,we should educate our communities to plan for safe delivery so that we reduce mtct ,maternal death,etc chief vari bho

moyo wokurera - 17 December 2013

in 2006, this chief with questionable morals impregnated his 13 year old maid. he was brought before his boss, chief ruzane who swept the matter under the carpet. the poor girl was then chased away from the homestead. god knows under what conditions this pure girl gave birth to her child, when she too was a child

kufakwababa - 18 July 2014

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