Harare City Council has moved to help expectant mothers by slashing maternity fees by almost half in compliance with a plea by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.
There were ululations and celebrations in the council chamber at Town House when it was announced in the budget presentation that maternity fees had been reduced from $50 to $30.
While maternity fees were reduced, council increased ambulance fees from $10 to $11.
Clinic fees also remain the same with consultation fees for adults pegged at $10 and children $3 while hospital fees are pegged at $20 for adults and $10 for children.
Council accused government of failure to honour the 1976 Public Health Agreement whereby they undertook to fund 50% of the recurrent expenditure on clinics and infectious disease hospitals.
Khupe recently told Parliament that giving birth was a national duty and promised to push government to abolish maternity fees.
“We want to eliminate fees completely at clinics and hospitals,” Khupe said.
“We are talking to Finance minister Tendai Biti on that so that he can set aside funds. Giving birth should be for free as the women will be performing national duty.”