Most pregnant women in the city depended on council clinics for these tests because the fees were affordable. Maternity fees at Bulawayo City Council clinics that include antenatal testing for HIV and AIDS have now been increased from US$15 to US$50, which is beyond the reach of many.
It is feared that the failure of hundreds of pregnant women to be tested for HIV and AIDS, will increase the incidents of mother-to-child transmission of the deadly virus. Antenatal testing makes it possible for infected mothers to be given the necessary drugs soon after delivery.
When contacted to comment on the matter, Bulawayo mayor, Thaba Moyo, defended the increasing of maternity fees. The US$15 that we were charging is too low a figure for such services. We need to buy all the necessary equipment needed for maternity wards, he said. A nurse at North End Clinic told The Zimbabwean that they had turned away many pregnant women as a result of the price hike.