Although, the state claims that childbirth is free in Serbia, provided a woman gives birth at a state hospital even if she doesn’t have state health insurance, the costs associated with pregnancy range from 500 to 3,000 euros, depending on the doctor’s office and lab tests.
Prenatal tests, examinations, checkups, various lab tests, vitamins, medications, etc. The list does not end there, because when a woman is pregnant, it takes a lot of money to carry the pregnancy to term.
State health insurance does not even cover half of the expenses, and in most state clinics either have poor conditions or no equipment to perform these tests.
Here are some of the experiences of pregnant women in Serbia, shared on the Bebac website.
“During pregnancy, I had to pay close to 130,000 dinars so far and I am currently at 39 weeks. No special visits, no bribes, nothing else. This is just for tests and medications,” says Barbara M.
“Just prenatal vitamins cost 2,500 dinars a month, plus other medications, plus tests and so on,” says Ivana N.
Nina M. writes from experience that in Leskovac’s maternity ward, doctors charge 300 to 500 euros for a natural birth, and a cesarean section is even more expensive. “The gynaecologists, save for maybe a couple of them, do not deserve to be called doctors,” Nina writes. “I had to do tests at a private facility, pay for various medications and not counting a prenatal test, I paid between 100,000 and 120,000 dinars so far,” says Petra K.
Some pregnant women write that they have paid 300 euros for epidural anaesthesia in state hospitals and that this is the standard price. Until delivery, many women spend more than 1,000 or 2,000 euros for a healthy pregnancy. “There are some doctors, anesthesiologists and midwives who openly ask for money to help a woman give birth and stay with her throughout it. They have their fees, and you know exactly how much they charge,” says Gordana Plemić, director of the Roditelji Association.
“There are women who bribe doctors at their own initiative, literally shoving envelopes with cash in their pockets, even though no one asked them to do so. Unfortunately, we still have an ingrained belief that a doctor, anesthesiologist and midwife should be paid extra. However, every bit of money they take from patients, on top of their salary, is considered a bribe and is punishable by law. There have also been cases where women say that they are not entitled to an anesthesiologist, but as soon as they pay, one appears”, Plemić says.
More than 90 percent of women in Serbia had their prenatal care done by private medical facilities, but give birth in state hospitals.
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