UN Day: For Safer Motherhood in Zimbabwe

30 Oct 2013

Chitungwiza - Jointly with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the United Nations Agencies in Zimbabwe celebrated the 68th anniversary of the United Nations at Chitungwiza Central Hospital with a call “For Safer Motherhood in Zimbabwe” – a theme that highlights the country’s high rates of maternal mortality.

The most recent statistics in Zimbabwe indicate that 9.6 women die for every 1000 live births. This is among the highest in the world and is double the average rate in Sub-Saharan Africa.  According to WHO estimates, maternal health complications are costing the country at least USD 132 million a year.

Attributing Zimbabwe’s high maternal mortality rate to challenges such as inability to retain health care professionals, decline in drug stock levels, and some beliefs and practices to accessing care, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. David Parirenyatwa said, “The Government is committed to resolve these challenges through various policies, strategies and programmes aimed at promoting safer motherhood”.

In his remarks, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Alain Noudehou decried the high maternal mortality, terming it unacceptable. “Pregnancy is not a disease and yet it is killing women in our communities at this alarming rate,” stated the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.  

“On our part, as the United Nations Country Team, we stand ready and committed to continue working under the vision and leadership of the Government to help tackle this issue of maternal mortality,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

Terming pregnancy as a “national duty,” the Director of Women’s Action Group, Ms. Edna Masiwa called upon the Ministry of Health and Child Care to consider putting into place measures which ensure the effective implementation of the national policy of no user-fees for pregnant women to access maternal care.

Speaking at the UN Day, Chief Nyamukoho, representing the President of the Council of Chiefs said, “All beliefs and misconceptions that have been contributing to the death of mothers during child birth have to change”.

Through effective partnerships, United Nations agencies, with generous financial support from development partners, are supporting the Government in the implementation of key development programs – including in the health sector, through mechanisms such as the Health Transition Fund, the Integrated Support Program, Maternity Waiting Homes Program, and the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS TB and Malaria. These initiatives and many others are providing a wide range of support, including maternal health services in Chitungwiza Central Hospital.

The choice of Chitungwiza Hospital as venue for this year’s UN Day celebration was in recognition of its outstanding model for implementing systemic solutions and building strategic partnerships to successfully deliver public health services to disadvantaged communities. Over 500 people, including representatives from Government, the Diplomatic Corps, Donor Agencies, Civil Society Organisation, Community Representatives, the Private Sector and the Press took part at the event.

Contact Information

For further information, please visit www.zw.one.un.org