The Zimbabwean Ministry of Health has announced that it plans to do away with hospital and clinic fees for pregnant women in a bid to reduce maternal deaths, particularly in rural communities, and has also resolved to establish maternity waiting homes, again emphasizing improved maternal health care in the countryside.
The ministry will look to international donors to help fund such new policies and amenities for expectant mothers.
Health Minister Henry Madzorera said the idea of eliminating maternal care fees was reinforced at the recent African Union summit in Uganda where leaders pledged a sharper focus on maternal, newborn and child health by committing 15 percent of the national budgets to health while exploring public private partnerships to bolster care.
African leaders at the summit said the continent will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goal on infant and maternal health if increased financial resources are not made available.
The AU appealed to donors who will gather in October at the annual meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to extend the fund's support to child and maternal health.
The additional money would be spent on strengthening public health systems with a focus on primary health care, family planning, improved infrastructure and the training of additional community health workers.