US gives Zim $15m to fight martenal mortality crsis

HARARE - Zimbabwe has received $15 million from The United States (US) government to bankroll maternal health programmes.

The targeted intervention is for the highly-burdened Manicaland province.

This is a second donation subsequent to the $15 million extended in 2010 for maternal, new-born and child health activities in Mutare and Chimanimani districts under the “m-chip” or Maternal and Child Health Integrated project.

David Parirenyatwa, Health and Child Care minister, said such cooperation was crucial in reducing maternal, neo-natal and infant deaths.

“The high maternal mortality of 960 per 100 000 reported by Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey and of 525 per 100 000 reported by the 2012 census remain a cause for concern,” Parirenyatwa said during the handover meeting in Harare yesterday.

“Most maternal deaths can be prevented through increased access to high quality antenatal and post-natal care. Please continue to help us because we cannot do this alone.”

The development comes at a time Zimbabwe is among countries struggling to fulfil Millennium Development Goals four and five which seek to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

US ambassador Bruce Wharton said after realising the impact of the initial three-year pilot programme, his government became obliged to save more lives.

“This collective commitment will hopefully contribute to a notable and sustainable decline in the maternal mortality in Manicaland,” Wharton said.

“The latest results from the programme are encouraging. As the US government, both our conscience and our national interests compel us to act.

“For example, there has been a substantial drop from 21 to 3 percent in maternal fatality rates due to high blood pressure in pregnancy. In real terms, this means saving the lives of thousands of mothers.”

The initial funding was used to refurbish baby care centres, strengthen capacity of health personnel and promoting institutionalised deliveries.

An estimated 3 600 maternal deaths occur every year while one out of every 12 Zimbabwean children do not survive to adulthood, the American diplomat said.

“But the good news is that many of these deaths are preventable,” Wharton said.

The cumulative US assistance to Zimbabwe over the past decade now stands at $450 million, according to Wharton.

Comments (1)

Dear Editor This is a positive thinking to aws the tommorow of ours. I think the government will continue to work with a positive thing towards the healthy of these children.

CHIUNDURA NATION - 21 February 2014

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