Source: AllAfrica
In a move designed to promote safe motherhood and reduce infant mortality, Zanzibar has abolished child delivery charges in public hospitals.

Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein announced the government's decision at the end of his three-day tour of Unguja South Region late Wednesday."There will be no child delivery charges in all public hospitals," Dr Shein said at the new campus of State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) in Tungu, about 35 kilometres south of the Stone Town.

Women were required to contribute 40,000/- as delivery charges whilst the government subsidised the rest. Health officials say the cost of giving birth range between 100,000/- to 400,000/-."We can manage to meet the charges for women giving birth in public hospitals. There is no justification for the charges, therefore, we should stop asking for contributions because the government can afford to meet the costs," Dr Shein said.

Since the introduction of labour charges in public hospitals almost five years ago, women and politicians were against it arguing that it is a burden to many poor women.But the charges had not been abolished by the government as it could not meet the costs for delivery kits, prompting introduction of the contribution.

Dr Shein said the government will meet all the costs required for mothers giving birth, adding that in the next financial year the budget for medicines and hospital equipment will be increased.President Shein also said that his government intends to reduce heavy reliance on donor support.

"We should practise self reliance. I believe we should strive for our own development, instead of waiting for donors support," he said. 

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