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Source: The Herald
GOVERNMENT is finalising logistics for scrapping user fees for pregnant women at district level, Health and Child Welfare Minister has said.

Minister Henry Madzorera said he is confident that all women delivering at rural health centres are now assisted free of charge following Government's recent directive to stop charging for delivery.

"All clinics were asked to open accounts, from which their allocations will be deposited into. At the time we issued a directive to all rural health centres, most of them had already created these accounts and we hope by now all clinics are now assisting mothers to deliver free of charge," Dr Madzorera said.

He said after the district hospitals, Government would also extend the scheme to other public health institutions in urban areas.

"Our resources are adequate but what is delaying the programme to other public health institutions are trainings, which are currently underway," he said.

Midlands provincial medical director Dr Milton Chemhuru would neither confirm nor deny whether all rural clinics in his province are no longer charging pregnant women to deliver.

Dr Chemhuru, however, said clinics in selected districts receiving funding under the Result Based Financing — funded by the World Bank are no longer charging pregnant women deliveries.

These districts are Zvishavane, Gweru and Gokwe. Gweru Provincial Hospital is also offering maternal health services free of charge.

Masvingo PMD Dr Robert Mudyirandima said he communicated the directive to all clinics in his province and confirmed that clinics had started receiving their allocations a fortnight ago.

The Government's directive was issued at the beginning of last month after Government successfully mobilised resources under the Health Transition Fund to scrap user fees.

The HTF is a multiple-donor pooled funding mechanism to support the health system in Zimbabwe.

"The money is distributed on a quarterly basis direct into a clinic's account so it will be difficult to tell who has received or who has not yet received," Dr Mudyirandima said.

However, according to the Women's Action Group some clinics in rural areas are still charging mothers to register for delivery.

According to a research done by the organisation, clinics especially those not covered by RBF are charging between US$5 and US$20 for registration depending on the clinic.

For this year alone, Government has secured a total of US$56 million from the donor community.

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