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Zim pledges focus on equity in sexual health

Zim pledges focus on equity in sexual health

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

ZIMBABWE has pledged a renewed focus on equity in sexual and reproductive health rights.

The latest report by the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency (UNFPA) reveals a mixed bag of progress on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

While significant strides have been made in recent decades, the report highlights some inequalities that have disadvantaged a number of women and girls.

Speaking at the launch of the 2024 State of the World Population Report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Douglas Mombeshora emphasised the need for a significant shift towards comprehensive, accessible SRHR services for all.

“To ensure that the next 30 years of progress includes everyone, we must pivot towards providing comprehensive, universal and inclusive sexual and reproductive health care and guaranteeing rights for all, regardless of their background.

“This means designing tailored and targeted health programmes that address the multiple ways economic, social, political and environmental injustice impact people’s health and rights. It also means moving beyond measuring human experiences in broad averages and committing to the collection of disaggregated data across a variety of factors,” he said.

The report titled ‘Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,’ highlights significant global progress in SRHR over the past 30 years.

UNFPA country representative, Ms Miranda Tabifor said, “In the space of a generation, we have reduced the unintended pregnancy rate by nearly one-fifth, lowered the maternal death rate by one-third, and secured laws against domestic violence in more than 160 countries.

“Despite this progress, inequalities within our societies and health systems are widening, and we have not adequately prioritised reaching those furthest behind. Our work is incomplete but not impossible with sustained investment and global solidarity.”

Progress made by Zimbabwe on the population and development front includes access to health services, including SRHR, as a constitutional right for every Zimbabwean.

Section 76 of the Zimbabwean Constitution gives every Citizen and Permanent Resident of Zimbabwe the right to access basic healthcare services, which include reproductive healthcare.

It also provides for the stepping up of budget allocation for family planning as part of increasing financing for contraceptives using domestic resources, with over US$3 million having been invested in procurement of contraceptives in the last two years. 

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