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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Government invests in maternal health

Story by Memory Chamisa

ZIMBABWE has made significant strides in reducing maternal mortality in the country through increased investment in the health sector.

This was confirmed by the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency this Tuesday.

Briefing the media ahead of the release of the World Population Report in Harare this Thursday, The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Programmes Specialist Reproductive Health, Dr Edwin Mupeta gave credit to the Zimbabwean Government for investing in maternal health services and sexual reproductive health.
“Government has made significant strides in reducing maternal health mortalities. 960 deaths per 100 000 live births were recorded in 2010 as compared to 360 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2022. That is commendable,” he said.

He added, “However, more needs to be done to ensure no woman loses their life, while giving birth. The demography of these deaths have mainly been recorded in adolescents, teenage girls. These are issues that need to be tackled of teen age pregnancies. If we are looking at the context of SDGs our aim by 2030 is to have a rate of less than 70 deaths per 100 000 live births, which means a lot has to be done hence collective effort is needed to strengthen government initiatives in place.”

“Family planning is very important in preventing maternal deaths. Zimbabwe is doing well in family planning, as it stands our programme is one of the best in the region. The government last year invested US$1,5 million dollars in contraceptives and this year again which is commendable,” he went on.

Sexual reproductive health education in schools has been identified as key in raising awareness and subsequently reducing cases of sexual exploitation.

“More effort needs to be channeled to reach marginalised women and girls who are not accessing family planning services. We have been working hand in glove with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to ensure that the curriculum entails sexual reproductive lessons to avoid teen age pregnancies and school dropouts which mostly affect the girl child.

“There must integration between the school and the community to ensure adolescents concentrate on their studies and not engage in any sexual activities. Protection of the girl child from child marriages is also useful influencing positive changes and addressing harmful practices affecting the rights of children,” said UNFPA Programmes Specialist Adolescent and Youths, Dr Blessing Nyagumbo.

Government last week gazetted the Children’s Amendment Act to strengthen child rights protection mechanisms.

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