In June 2013, the Government of Kenya rolled out free maternity services program through a presidential declaration to encourage women to give birth at health facilities under skilled personnel. This was in keeping with the resolutions of the African Union favouring point-of-service user fees exemptions for pregnant women and children under the age of five years.
But Tanzania is still struggling to honour the African Union resolutions on maternal health care. In some regions, any pregnant woman giving birth outside a health facility is slapped with a fine of between Sh20, 000 and Sh50, 000, which they are obliged to pay when they seek medical help in these facilities for their newborn such as vaccination and other infant problems.
A lawmaker and a transport and communication deputy minister raised an alarm when he toured the region, terming the injustices as unacceptable in the society eyes.
“Our wives are fines sh20000 to 50000 when they visit dispensaries for other services after giving birth at home, this is unacceptable,” he said.
Responding to the matter, acting Medical Chief Officer in the region said that his office had already directed those involved in the scheme to stop or else face disciplinary actions. He added that Tanzania government will not tolerate officials plunging it into conflict with the citizens, proposing to file a report for further actions.
“We will do a close follow up to see if this is still ongoing,” he encouraged the residents
If the Tanzania government could allocate some millions in its budget for implementation of the free maternity program for all it women program then the health centres and dispensaries would be obliged to take care of the women, eliminating maternal health charges and reducing maternal complications as well as maternal mortalities.