The government will soon offer free medical care to pregnant women, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has said.
Khupe made the disclosure last Friday while addressing Bulawayo City Council officials and staff at Northend Clinic.
“The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, has agreed that pregnant women should get free medical aid cover,” said Khupe.
“I spoke to Biti and he said that it is possible to offer free medical care to pregnant women. As government, we will soon announce that pregnant women will now have free access to health facilities.”
Women had largely complained of prohibitive maternity fees at government hospitals and clinics, which they blamed for the increase in mortality and unsafe home deliveries.
Eight women are said to die every day while giving birth. Hospitals charge about $50 for delivery.
Khupe said most women were poor and could not afford the high fees. Speaking at the same function, Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda said:
“We want to appeal to you as our Deputy Prime Minister that you see to it that medical fees are scrapped at hospitals. We will support you as MPs in that move. Women do not have to pay a cent to access medical care.”