Health ministry to receive ambulances

HARARE - The European Union (EU) delegation in Zimbabwe has purchased 63 ambulances worth $2,8 million, which they will hand over to the Health ministry on Friday, the delegation head has said.

Aldo Dell’Ariccia, the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, yesterday said the donation is part of the 27-nation bloc’s $13 million programme seeking to improve maternal health in Zimbabwe’s rural communities.

Improving maternal health, which is the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) has remained one of Zimbabwe’s major challenges. Official statistics show that one in every two mothers in some of Zimbabwe’s rural communities is faced with maternal and infant mortality due to an increase in home deliveries.

“The programme contributes significantly to reducing maternal mortality, in line with the MDGs. We must act decisively to address the current levels of 960 deaths per 100 000 births,” he said.

He said 150 000 women are expected to benefit from the Maternity Waiting Homes (MWH) and other services in 105 health facilities over the next three years.

The ambulances will be distributed to all rural health districts.

The donation of ambulances to rural districts comes in the wake of a revelation that even the cities are facing problems, with Harare having just three ambulances to service over 3 million residents.

Harare, which is currently struggling with disease outbreaks and a myriad of accidents, runs 12 polyclinics with a dilapidated fleet of ambulances and authorities are pleading for assistance.

The MWH project, which is aligned to national health policies and priorities, will be implemented in close coordination with the Health ministry and managed by the United Nations Population Fund, Dell’Ariccia said. - Bridget Mananavire

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