Ministry of Health in Eastern Province has refuted claims that authorities at Minga Hospital in Nyimba district charge a penalty fee of K10,000 on women who delay to seek Antenatal service.
Provincial Medical Officer Kennedy Malama told ZANIS in an interview yesterday that it is not true that the health institution makes expectant mothers pay for delays in seeking antenatal services saying is criminal to do so.
Dr Malama said the ministry of Health wants to encourage all expectant women to deliver at health institutions and making them pay would discourage them to go to clinics and hospitals.
He advised pregnant women who are forced to pay the penalty fee to report the matter to his office saying any medical officer found charging expectant women risk disciplinary action and described the action as gross misconduct.
The medical officer said the ministry said his ministry will not condone anyone trying to frustrate government efforts on promoting access to health facilities.
Dr Malama said it is for this reason that the ministry is working with traditional leaders in encouraging villagers to go to health institutions for safer deliveries
Recently, some expectant mothers in Nyimba charged that nurses at Minga hospital were charging them a penalty fee of K10, 000 for delays in seeking antenatal services.
The women who were found at the health institution said women in the area are adamant to go to Minga hospital because they are not able to pay the monies.
The women who were represented by Alice Zulu of Senior chief Kalindawaro’s area said those who fail to pay the K10, 000 are forced to deliver at home with the help of untrained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).
Ms Zulu appealed to government to intervene in the matter saying this leads to postnatal complications.