Improving maternal health top priority: President

ZIMBABWE is committed to ensuring that there is quality provision of reproductive, maternal, new-born child and adolescent health services at all levels of society in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) agenda, President Mnangagwa has said.

Addressing the 20th International Inter-Ministerial Conference on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Population and Development here yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the provision of maternal health and reduction of child mortality is a priority for his Government.

“I am pleased to highlight that over the years, the Government of Zimbabwe has made significant strides in implementing the goals of the International Conference on Population and Development.

“To date, the total population of Zimbabwe has doubled from 7,6 million in 1982 to 15 million in 2022. This increase in the population growth rate is attributable to an overally improved quality of life. Additionally, the decline in HIV and AIDS-related mortality rates owing to the increased availability of Antiretroviral Treatment as well as reduced mother to child HIV transmission has had positive impacts.”

President Mnangagwa also highlighted the steady decline in fertility rates while the country’s life expectancy had increased owing to comprehensive and co-ordinated socio-economic and healthcare interventions.

While Zimbabwe’s national maternal mortality ratio is still considerably high, it has declined from 651 per 100 000 live births in 2015, to 362 per 100 000 live births in 2022.

President Mnangagwa said the Government had implemented a multi-pronged and people-centred national development agenda which contributed to the progress recorded on the path to attaining the ICPD25 goals.

“In a bid to track our commitments to the International Conference on Population and Development, the Government of Zimbabwe established a multi-sectoral National Taskforce which periodically meets to co-ordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Programme of Action. The taskforce employs a whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approach. Similarly, we call for seamless co-ordination to scale up South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

“I am pleased to highlight that through such partnerships, Zimbabwe has managed to fill gaps in health service provision. This has seen medical and other health specialists coming to our country to assist us in the health service delivery sector, from as far afield as the People’s Republic of China and Cuba.”

The Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the world’s response to various sexual reproductive health initiatives and Zimbabwe was not spared.

However, this did not deter efforts to ensure that citizens have access to SRH services and products like family planning commodities.

President Mnangagwa said the Government had continued to adhere to the Family Planning 2030 commitments and the Compact of Commitment with regards to the provision of technical and financial resources for family planning programmes.

“This has resulted in the domestic funding, for family planning, rising within the national health budget, from 1,7 percent in 2013 to 2,4 percent in 2022. Our national health budget allocation was at 14.9 percent in 2022, in line with the 15 percent aspiration outlined in the Abuja Declaration. The overall effectiveness of the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council has had overall positive ripple effects on our Family Planning and Reproductive Health services,” he said.

The President said in spite of milestones achieved, Zimbabwe continued to face challenges in the health sector which could be tackled through South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

South-south cooperation is regarded as an accelerator for the achievement of the ICPD goals.

“The mantra, ‘No woman should die whilst giving birth’, remains our guiding motto. Further, let us consolidate our engagement and partnerships within the South-South and Triangular Cooperation framework to unlock more resources for our respective national development plans towards a prosperous and healthy life for all,” President Mnangagwa said.

“Domestic financing and innovative interventions that promote gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women remain critical. Ultimately, the burden and responsibility to realise development that leaves no one and no place behind within our respective countries is on us. Collectively, we must deliver.”


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