Zimbabwe 'may need to scrap free maternity care plans'

The government in Zimbabwe may need to scrap plans for free maternity care due to budgetary constraints.

Health and child welfare deputy minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said his ministry was set to receive US$10 million from the national budget for the maternity aid programme, but only US$6 million was approved, reports the Herald.

"The plan was to scrap maternal user fees, but it seems it is not going to work.

"Instead, we are now revising that decision so that we subsidise current costs of user fees rather than scrapping them completely," he said.

Fees have been identified as one of the obstacles which are discouraging pregnant women from going to health institutions to give birth.

At least US$25 is required to register for delivery at clinics, states the news provider.

According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey, the country currently has a maternal mortality rate of 990 deaths per every 100,000 live births and it is thought that the majority of these deaths are caused by complications during delivery.
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