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Bulawayo mothers detained for maternity fees

Published: January 18, 2012


DESPITE a recently announced government fund for free health care for pregnant women, more than a dozen new mothers are being harassed and have been detained to force payment of between US$100 and US$200 in maternity fees, at Bulawayo Mpilo Central Hospital.

The women and their babies were forced into a discharge ward and a police guard stationed at the door to prevent them from escaping, according to the local Chronicle newspaper.

They were told they could not leave until they paid up while those who asked for time were told to produce a deposit of US$50 and proof that they would be able to get the balance.

The women were also told to find their own food and organise their own sleeping arrangements.

City of Bulawayo

City of Bulawayo

One of those affected said she had been told she could not leave until she paid US$198 in maternity fees.

“I started having labour pains on Saturday at about 5pm and we went to Mpilo after 12 midnight,” the woman said.

“I gave birth just before 6am on Sunday and was told I could not be discharged until I paid the full amount.”

The hospital was also said to be withholding birth records until maternity fees are paid.

“What they are doing is unfair because they even took away the birth record which means the child would never apply for a birth certificate,” another new mom complained.

“Is that not an infringement of children’s rights?”

But the hospital’s acting chief executive officer, Dr Wedu Ndebele denied the claims.

“There are people with an agenda and I cannot comment unless you give us their names,” Dr Ndebele said.
“You could have gotten someone to explain to you the procedure when you visited the hospital.

“Yes, nurses do not have the authority to charge people at the wards as that is done at the accounts department and it could not have happened that way.”

The government announced in October last year that it had secured $430 million in funding to support free health care for and pregnant women at public hospitals.

The Fund was put together with the help of the EU, Unicef as well as various donor agencies and European countries such as Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Britain.

“There is a need for a unified, national effort towards improving access to quality health care, especially for women and children,” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said then.

Health Minister, Henry Madzorera sad the fund would help revitalize the country’s health sector which is struggling to recover from a decade-long decline.

“We are privileged to have a good physical and human resources infrastructure in this country and we are confident that with the necessary technical and financial backing, Zimbabwe’s health sector will be revitalised,” he said.

WPSN comments

29 Comments on "Bulawayo mothers detained for maternity fees"

  1. Bla Miki on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 7:00 am 

    I think our new recruit, comrade naked can be in a better position to comment. The problem is in Bulawayo many women open their legs without paying attention to who would be responsible for the pregnancy. You cant expect a fool like Xolani to take care of anyone. Mdc bastards led by their bed hopping leader Tsvangay are not sparing these unfortunate women from this agony, anongokwira osiya

  2. Mvanayebete on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 7:33 am 

    Heyi!! hangiyazi vele

  3. Comrade Naked on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 8:24 am 

    Nxa!!! Chando baboon

  4. Mavambo Kusile Dawn on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 9:30 am 

    Hospital management can deny this but it’s happening in all public hospitals countrywide. We say no mother should suffer while giving life to the nation! I suggest that before admission, someone should own up as the male guardian to the pregnant woman (husband, partner, boyfriend, father, uncle etc.). This is the person who should underwrite all the bills, failure to which they can be detained or taken to court. It’s so unfair to detain a recuperating woman and her infant, in hospital environment, while the man is enjoying life somewhere, probably with a mistress! Government should nonetheless devise long-term solutions to protect women’s health. After all, the women are replenishing a critical national resource – human capital. However, there should be no “free health” as it is no health at all. Even in Mighty America, people PLAN their pregnancies and PAY for them! Zimbabwe should be no exception.

  5. Anhu acho on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 9:30 am 


  6. Anhu acho on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 9:43 am 


  7. Bla Miki on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 12:34 pm 

    Ha-aa wazopererwawo iwe Tuvanhu Twacho. Macodes aunoda kutaura ndeeiko iwe godzva rembwa you mean vanambuya vanoziva zvemacodes izvozvo?

  8. Anhu acho on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 1:45 pm 


  9. CHANDO KUPISA on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 3:01 pm 

    Ko, unonditukirei nhai iwe Naked?

  10. **************** representing miki and choya the comrades on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 6:38 pm 

    hahahahahahahhahahahahahah ma******** mapa tyte kaa ehhh think twice before mating and producing more creatures of your kind naked akapona vese namai vake coz akazvarirwa kumba mutoilet thus his existence marred by bull**** today help your rat type family planning ndevhanz locked up in wards yes pliz very good mpilo vharirayi pfambi idzoo

  11. oj on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 7:12 pm 

    @ ****************, i bet its the pple of your type that fill up maternity wards in Byo.The Ma******** you mention i presume is your new term for Mandebele who ithink do not breed as much. Byo is now awash and swamped by your kinsfolk, trust me, it could be your sister detained for non payment of .maternity fees which to me is ridiculous.What happened to the millenium goals that Zim signed to. Tribalism really hurts. When Zanu murdered Mat. in the 80s, some ululated, but when Zanu visited them in 2008 , THEY ran all over. IF they win at Mpilo , then they will visit Gomo. Just wait and see. Let LEARN to say no when things are wrong. Detaining an individual for non payment of hospital fees is lack of compassion and from which article in the constitution is ithat from.If its laws formulated to frustrate MAT, then my response is TRIBALISM IS BRUTALITY

  12. Shobele(ShonaNdebele) on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 7:13 pm 

    Murimapenzi mose kunze kwamavambo. Its happening all over the country. First week yaDec I visited the post natal ward KuGweru general & I was touched by the issue of a woman who came back from a minute to death after a miscariage. They wanted her to pay $100 for herself and $60 for the foetus to be cremated. She had half the money but they refused. What is the cost of detaining a poor woman in Hospital and afoetus in the mortuary for more than a month. Hurombo hauwutikonese kuzvara ka! Ukawona munhu achipedza mwedzi arimuchipatara zvinoreva kuti haana mari.

  13. Comrade Naked on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 7:31 pm 

    Wena Chando nguwe ozibiza ngo Viva Gukurawundi ngiyazi uzonya msatha kanyoko ovuza igazi lenja

  14. oj on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 7:47 pm 

    @Shobele, thanks for the enlightenment and you put some of us somewhat at uneasy ease.Anti pple laws are the order of the day in our Zimbabwe and i lament that our officials dont seem to give a hoot abt the poor and the weak. A lot of countries are offering free health care to women and children but combattive is going the opposite direction. What a shame. There is a measure of brutal efficiency in the implementation of these laws. Dont cry Zim. when the world says you are like a hen that eats its own eggs coz you really do.

  15. Shobele(ShonaNdebele) on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 7:54 pm 

    @oj. Tribalism is Brutality but counter tribalism is worse. Ungazikhathazi ngabantu abalokhu besabandlulula ngolimi. Kukhomba ukuthi basesebangeni langaphansi lempuchuko. Uma sibheka umuntu asimbheke njengomuntu owadhalwa ngumlimu njengathi. Sokuyisikhathi sokwakha isizwe sijabule sonke. Ngiyalithanda lonke, Ndokudayi mose.

  16. Shobele(ShonaNdebele) on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 8:15 pm 

    Thats it oj. The attitude of our lawmakers is that of fixing people( ukunyisa, kukawurisa) so is every element of government. Instead of finding ways of easing the problem they worsen it. Our policies are yet to be people driven. Even road blocks are not mounted to enhance road safety but ahave become an easy way of fundraising. Its time we had an administration which puts peole first: Politicians please note; I said ADMINISTRATION not MDC, ZANU PF etc.

  17. Bla Miki on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 7:13 am 

    It is a well known MDC strategy to instill hardships of some kind to the people in order to gain their political mileage.Remember the food shortages? Ministry of Energy is not sparing us by continuously cutting off electricity and water supply is very erratic, when it comes, it would be semi purified. The health ministry is in shambles with the minister not in touch with any disease outbreak in communities even as one of his senior party members dies of the same disease.Ministry of finance is a mere circus turned into a debating club. The list is endless but if you look at it, these are the ministries occupied by the MDC and to me it looks they are all but trying to sabotage the government and Zanu pf so that people would revolt, and thereby enhancing their regime change agenda.

  18. CHANDO KUPISA on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 7:54 am 

    ********** *******,******* ********* ***** ********** risati *****,***** **********,******* ****** ***** mwana ***** *******,***** chinenge chebenzi,***** ****** ******** inechikwekwe.Stupid Naked ini ndinonzi Chando Kupisa,saka unofunda kuti ndini ngega ndisingafariri pfungwa dzako dzinenge dzemurwere weku Mlondolozi?

  19. P Kuboni on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 8:11 am 

    Zimbabwe needs a law that criminalises tribalism. This is possible under a government that does not trive through tribalism as is the case with Zanu Jongwe. Just read what Bla is saying. Does this bloke use brains for thinking or just mashed potatoes? He must go back to border gezi for re-orientation so that he knows what to say to which audience. Typical divisive Zanu Jongwe recycled line of thought and principle that guided its formation in the 60s. My worry is that I see a tangent with MDC-T. Mavambo or Zapu are the only saviours of Zim. Popularity manje!

  20. **************** representing miki and choya the comrades on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 8:19 am 

    iweeee naked bushu ra******** if you dnt know what it means i will translate 4 u it means scrotum

  21. P Kuboni on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 8:22 am 

    I think Chando now sees evil in tribalism. I see a lot of restraint in his articles of late. Lets reiforce or reward good conduct. That half of his posting above is unprintable could be a sign that he does not want to be associated with what viva Gukurawundi has written as he finds it an abormination. Thanx Chando.

  22. CHANDO KUPISA on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 8:27 am 

    Itotenda Editor ndanga ndichida kukuudza chakatadzisa imbwa kuseka iyo ichigona kunyenama.

  23. P Kuboni on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 8:30 am 

    How can one tell all and sundry that the other GNU partners are powerless and that Zanu Pf is the supper partner who welds real powers in government and then turnaround and blame the other parties for failing to deliver. What does Zanu Pf use its powers for? For whose benefit?

  24. Mavambo Kusile Dawn on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 9:31 am 

    Eish Chando! Cool it man. Were all those stones meant for a fellow Zimbo? Oh no! Forgive your brother man. Yes, let’s hear what you wanna say about our mothers, aunts, nieces, wives and sisters being detained for failing to settle maternity bills. Is this fair? Where are the men in all this? Are the pregnancies Holy Ghost-induced? Can the celebrated GNU offer solutions? Let me hear you on the editorial matter bro.

  25. CHANDO KUPISA on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 10:40 am 

    I hear you Mavambo,but whats happening at the hospital its like the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing and again it boils down to the ministry of healthy wish is not walking the talk.GNU has totally failed us as Zimbabweans,its the pulling down syndrome which has made it ineffective and if i had my way election would have been held by now and it appears that those entrusted with the rewriting of the new Constitution are not in hurry partly because there are too many cooks who have taken a partisan position.If Madhuku was apolitical i would have bought his idea of an independent body to do the work,as it will not be under pressure from the politicians.

  26. cde Johnn on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 1:55 pm 

    women detained over failure to pay maternity fees! The DEAD PARTY planning to FORCEFULLY raise 500 000 USD for a birthday. Ndosaka muchigarokundwa maelections muchizoguma morova nekuuraya vanhu coz hamuite zvido zvevanhu.

  27. Comrade Naked on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 2:20 pm 

    Ayiphelanga ******* O****i I will be back nizongithola kahle

  28. CHANDO KUPISA on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 2:46 pm 

    I dont understand you john because all we know is the birthday is a private and family event,all are welcome and nobody is forced to contribute but you have your minister of healthy who is letting his guys do as they please with young babies’ lives.Hardly a month ago Thokozani Khupe was officiating at Mpilo and he promised patience a lot of things including free maternity cover.These are the people to attack for false promises kwete President varikuita private birthday part zvavo.Wake up and be real dont critisize for the sake of it.

  29. Lisa on Fri, 20th Jan 2012 4:23 pm 

    so where the hell did the $430million USD that was given to government for pregnant women go!!

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