'Hospitals must stop detaining mothers'

HARARE - Hospitals have no right to detain mothers who have failed to pay maternity user fees, MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe has said.

Government hospitals say they are detaining mothers as a way of arm-twisting them to pay-up outstanding user fees.

The practice, which has become widespread, was put before Parliament by Khupe on Thursday.

She  said during the inclusive government era between 2009 and 2013, a Health  Transition Fund had been put in place so that pregnant women would not pay maternity user fees because  the country had a high mortality rate of 960 deaths out every 100 000 live births.

“What has happened to that policy that pregnant women  are not supposed to pay any cent because when women  are delivering,  they  will be performing  a national duty and should not be punished  for doing so by demanding money from  them?” Khupe asked.

She was supported by Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi West Biater Nyamupinga, who also complained about the detention of women.

Paul Chimedza, deputy minister of Health and Child Care, said detaining mothers was wrong.

“It is not government policy to detain people for not being able to pay the user fees,” Chimedza said. “We have communicated  this to the people who superintend over our hospitals because we are receiving this complaint again and again from the public and we do not condone that practice.”

He however, advised legislators to inform their constituents on the need to pay user fees to keep the hospitals running.

“I also encourage MPs to educate and encourage people in their constituencies to pay their user fees as we know that they are some who have the capacity to do but are not doing it,” Chimedza said. “We have some with medical aid cards who are not paying but must do so.

“People must learn pay at hospitals so that government is able to maintain those health institutions in good shape so that they can continue to provide medical services.”‘

Comments (1)

It just sad what happening here clearly these people don't have the money to pay for this service, it's really sad coz at independence we inherited one of Africa's best economy, everything worked free health care free schooling what happened. Is this to be our legacy as black people some case study at some European University on how blacks are incompetent, greedy, corrupt and ultimately a huge failure to humanity.

Roland Ncube - 7 April 2014

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