Khupe said this on Friday while addressing villagers at Sipepa Rural District Hospital in Tsholotsho.
“Out of 100 000 women that give birth, 125 of them die during the process. We are the highest in Africa if not the whole world,” Khupe said.
“Our aim is to reduce this by 75% starting this year.”
Khupe said the problem had been exacerbated by the high charges at public hospitals, leading to a lot of women shunning the institutions and only turning up for health care “when it’s too late”
She likened childbirth to “national duty” performed by the female folk.
“Since women play such an important role in society, how can we punish them? Who knows, she could be giving birth to the next president of the country.”
She said the government should ensure that women everywhere in the county get free medical access.
“The fees pegged at US$50 dissuade women from going to medical centres hence they prefer to stay at home which is an unfortunate situation,” she said to a loud applause from women.
Khupe said the inclusive government was seriously looking at addressing imbalances in the health delivery system through the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare as well as the Finance portfolios.
“Our nurses and doctors need to be applauded because they work under very difficult conditions especially at this hospital where facilities are grossly lacking,” she said.