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The US$25 and US$8000 divide in the worlds of expe...

The US$25 and US$8000 divide in the worlds of expecting mothers in Zimbabwe.



Bridget Mabanda

Minor Chinyati’s face lit with joy when she learnt, through a scan, that she was carrying a baby boy. The cost of this process was US$15. And when the time to deliver came, she could not hide her pride as she held her first born child at the age of 32.

Admitted at the Sally Mugabe Central Hospital, the delivery was without any flaws and because government considers giving birth a national duty, there were no major bills to be paid.

The only money she had initially parted with was US$25 to register the pregnancy, this paid at Mufakose Poly Clinic which is within the vicinity of her residence.

Despite the smooth flow of the whole birthing process, Chinyati had reservations about the conditions at Sally Mugabe Hospital where expecting mothers sometimes sleep on the floor owing to shortage of maternity beds.

Food is adequate, but very basic and the expecting mother may want to supplement what the clinic or hospital supplies. The Sally Mugabe Central Hospital is a facility that especially caters for women with pregnancy complications referred there for specialist care. Most services are free once a woman has registered in the public system.

There may be extras to be paid for Caesarian sections depending on how well-stocked the facility is at the time. But generally the extra bills are unlikely to exceed US$500 at the most.

The mother of one is a hair-dresser who, at times, goes the whole day without a client. For her and others and the majority of Zimbabwean women in her bracket, public hospitals are the only option. Valerie says she has come to terms with the fact that while it is a right to have a child, the conditions that one will face must be considered when one makes a choice to have one.

Extra mandatory requirements

Vaseline Blue seal original


Cotton wool – large packet

Baby blanket


2 Wrappers

Wool hat

3 Nappies

2 vests Vest

Track suit/ fleece baby set


Maternity pads


US$50 contingency fund

In some cases, expecting mothers may be asked to bring disposable gloves and razor blades as well

Entry level private maternity services

Tashinga, 29, used a private maternity clinic in the high density of Glen View.

“The service is superb. The facilities are very good. I would recommend the clinic to any woman who wants to enjoy her pregnancy and give birth in comfortable surroundings,” she said. She said the food is also reasonably good and one does not need any extras unless they are really a choosy eater.

For this level of private care, midwifery charges range between US$200-US$500. This covers initial registration, consultations and delivery. Should she need a Caesarian section, the woman will need US$760 to about US$1200.

Top notch private maternity services

Clara, 26, who delivered at well-known and long established private maternity facility in the Avenues area of Harare said the services there are excellent. She has health insurance which helped make life easier as she did not have to pay anything else. Clara says the diet is excellent and she would be given a menu from which to select what she wanted for each particular meal.

Premium health insurance costs around US$210 a month for each individual if they are not part of a corporate group. Most Zimbabweans are not formally employed. For the uninsured, costs of pregnancy and delivery in top notch private centres is prohibitive. Gynaecologist fees range between US$25 and US$200 per visit.

Most women will need about 10 from the time that they register at 12 weeks or so. If a woman has a condition like hypertension or heart issues which need constant monitoring, she might have up to 20 visits, putting the total costs of consultations only between US$250 and US$2000.


Special treatment and management of the condition may entail more costs and overnight hospital visits. So, another US$2000 has to be budgeted for. Basic blood tests will set her back US$40. More may be needed if some anomaly is picked up and needs further investigation.

The delivery costs will add up to about US1000 for hospital stay and services. The gynae will consume another US$300 or more. That’s about US$1500 to lay aside. If a caesarean section is called for, the woman must have around US$2400 depending on the private institution and her specific needs.

So a woman who is not insured and wants the best of private health maternity care must have some US$8000 lying around somewhere. If she is lucky, she might just need around US$2000 only.

Harare Private Maternity Clinic-List for mum

Two night dresses

Dressing gown

Panties (plenty)

2 pairs of socks


Bath towel and face cloth

Feeding braas and breast pads



Maternity pads (three packs)


Breast feeding pillow

Nipple cream

Going out of hospital outfit

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