DFID programme to strengthen a resilient health system in Zimbabwe launched

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Harare, 10 November 2017: A new programme to strengthen a resilient health system in Zimbabwe has been launched.

Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development to the tune of US$ 82 million, the programme aims to improve sexual, reproductive, health, and nutrition services for women, adolescents, and children. The majority of this grant will finance health interventions implemented by UNICEF and UNFPA under the Health Development Fund while WHO will receive US$ 2.2 million to help strengthen Zimbabwe’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.

Speaking at the launch in Harare this week, Ministry of Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Aldrin Musiiwa said the programme will enable the country to provide the highest possible standard of health care and quality of life for all its citizens.

Head of DFID in Zimbabwe Annabel Gerry said the grant was a continuation of the UK’s support to Zimbabwe’s health sector.

“Through the UK’s support, the availability of basic medicines in rural health centres has risen from 12 per cent to over 90 per cent and we’ve seen an increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate from 57 per cent to 66 per cent, putting Zimbabwe above the global average and over double the continental average,” she said. “These are impressive numbers – and it is important to remember that behind every statistic is a life changed and in many cases a life saved. Through this programme, DFID continues to support the recovery of the health system and of health services across the country.”

The Programme builds on the progress Zimbabwe has made in reducing maternal and child mortality, expanding full immunization coverage, increasing the proportion of births attended to by skilled health personnel, and increasing access to sexual reproductive health services for women and girls, such as fistula repair surgery, cervical cancer screening and family planning.

“A resilient health system is the bedrock of a country’s development aspirations,” said acting UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Mohamed Ayoya. “Today’s event builds on the important work that has gone into restoring Zimbabwe’s health system. The United Nations in Zimbabwe is delighted to be part of this Programme and pledges its commitment to continue supporting the government to sustain ongoing health programmes and contribute to a more robust and resilient health system.”

Key components of the programme include:

  • Increasing the number of children receiving Vitamin A supplements from 624,248 to 1,101,614;

  • Reducing the percentage of adolescents with unmet family planning needs from 13 per cent to 9 per cent;

  • Increasing the number of children with severe acute malnutrition cured and discharged from 62 per cent to 70 per cent;

  • Increasing the number of women screened for cervical cancer from 240,000 to 465,000;

  • Increasing the number of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence accessing services within 72 hours per year from 1,600 in 2016 to 2,300.

The programme will be implemented over a two year period.