18 Jan 2011

Vanuatu health boss clarifies birth fee report

2:10 pm on 18 January 2011

The director general of Vanuatu's Ministry of Health denies media reports that there has been an increase in fees for pregnant women at the Vila Central hospital.

In a statement, Mark Bebe says pregnant women are treated almost free throughout the country.

The Vanuatu Daily Post paper reported the rise in fees to 65 US dollars came into effect at the start of the year as a flat rate regardless of how long a mother spends in hospital, compared to the old rate of six dollars each day.

Mr Bebe says there has been an increase in the hospital's outpatient fee so people could use their respective dispensaries and health centres rather than cause congestion at the Vila Central Hospital.

He added that the in-patient fee for selected non communicable diseases at the Vila Central Hospital remained the same.