By THOMAS MATIKO
Women in a Tanzanian village have made startling revelation of how a government health facility has been fining women who deliver their babies at home.
According to the women from Mapanda village in Iringa Province in Tanzania, the health facility imposes a fine of Tsh50,000 (Sh2,200) on mothers who delivered at home when they eventually show up at the center for antenatal clinic of their new-born babies.
These revelations have been made just days after Tanzanian President Dr John Magufuli, a father of two, asked women in the country to stop taking birth controls since the country needs more people.
The women raised the complaints about Mapanda Health Center over the said fine while attending a public gathering organized by Iringa’s Provincial Commissioner Ally Hapi during his tour of the region.
“It’s not fair imposing fines on us for delivering babies at home. What is most shocking is that the nurses, who are women like us, don’t care,” lamented Teresia Ndungulu, a resident of Mapanda.
GO ON LABOUR
Ms Ndungulu further explained that most of them fail to go to the health centers to deliver for various reasons.
“Some of us go on labour earlier than expected to be able to rush to the health centers, while some of us opt to deliver at home for lack of maternity fees,” she said.
The chief medic at the health center, Peter Mkanga, said the fine was passed by the village government.
Mkanga said the fine is meant to discourage women from giving birth at home, hence oppose themselves at their babies to unforeseen complications that come with child birth away from health centers.
However, Provincial Commissioner Hapi criticized the decision to fine women in such situations.
“Some of them (the women) are poor and can’t afford to go to the hospital and you are busy imposing a fine of Tsh50,000. Instead of helping them, you end up compelling them to sell their properties to pay the fine,” he said.