The Minister of Health and Child Welfare,Dr Henry Madzorera, has urged members of the Apostolic to take advantage of the scrapping of user fees in rural clinics for pregnant and lactating women to develop health seeking behaviour.

Members of the Apostolic Faith believe in divine healing for all forms of sickness and disease.

Speaking in an interview after a handover ceremony of 63 ambulances to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare worth US$2, 8 million from European Union aimed at improving maternal health services in the country, health minister Henry Madzorera said members of the apostolic should move with time.

“Our engagement with members of the apostolic started long back in 2009. We will keep on working with them for them to accept the modern day health facilities that people get medication, delivering at health institutions so that they get attention from trained doctors and nurses.”

Madzorera added: “We are working with them. Some are cooperate some are yet to cooperate. It’s an ongoing process it’s not easy for people to accept the new gospel that we are preaching because God want people to have long life on earth.”

Children under the age of five and senior citizens (65 years and above) are also beneficiaries of the free medical facility.

Home deliveries currently at 42 percent are among the major causes of high mortality ratio. However, the statistics of members of the apostolic giving birth at home is not known.

The government of Zimbabwe is battling to reduce high maternal mortality rate in the country caused by a number of factors and home deliveries as a result of unaffordable fees.

According to the recently published 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS), Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in Zimbabwe has more than doubled since 1990. The 1994 ZDHS maternal mortality ratio was 283 per 100 000 live births and during the period 2005/6 it was estimated at 555 deaths per 100 000 live births while in 2010/11 it was it skyrocketed to a whooping 960 deaths per live births.

Speaking at the same ceremony , the EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe Ambassador Aldo Dell’ Arricia, said ambulances would be distributed to all rural districts at selected health centers. Ambassador Dell’ Arricia said an estimated 150 000 women were expected to benefit from Maternity waiting homes and other services in to be established at 105 health facilities across the country over three years.

United Nations Population Fund Country Director Dr Basile Tambashe, said the ambulance donation programme would come along with a comprehensive package that will see more and more pregnant women easily accessing health facilities.

The government of Zimbabwe supported by donors scraped the user fees as it is battling to reduce high maternal mortality rate in the country. Zimbabwe now relies on the Result Based Financing (RBF) run by World Bank being coordinated by the Catholic Organisation for Relief & Development Aid (CORDAID) for any other costs which formed the basis for the charging of maternity fees.

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