Harare - UNFPA Deputy Executive Director and UN Assistant Secretary-General Ms. Kate Gilmore concluded a 3-day visit to support UNFPA's work with the Government of Zimbabwe in the areas of maternal health, gender and young people's sexual and reproductive health.The visit, which began with courtesy calls on the Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable David Parirenyatwa, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, was followed by key meetings with donors, Heads of UN Agencies, UNFPA Implementing Partners (IPs) and communities.
"UNFPA has been able to work and produce results in Zimbabwe because of the government's willingness to partner. Also, the combined efforts of UN Agencies in their respective areas of expertise have shown how much can be achieved working together," she said.
During the visit, Ms. Gilmore officiated at the launch of the Health Development Fund at Mahusekwa Hospital in Marondera. The HDF is a multi-donor fund to the health sector with a budget of US$680 million over five years and will be funded by the governments of Canada, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and European Union, as well as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). It is expected to focus on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH-A).
Speaking at the launch, Ms. Gilmore said: "The Health Development Fund pillars speak quite strongly to some of the Sustainable Development Goals. There is a need for a concerted effort to end preventable maternal and new-born deaths and disabilities."
Of the work that UNFPA is supporting in Zimbabwe, Ms. Gilmore visited the HIV Prevention Amongst Sex Workers Project at the Mbare Sex Work Clinic. Here she heard the women's stories, challenges and actions towards HIV prevention. It was apparent from the testimonies given by the women that UNFPA's support is contributing to important work.
"Sex workers are key to the fight against HIV and for that reason, UNFPA will continue to support work that empowers this population to sustain the positive results that Zimbabwe has gained over the years, in reducing prevalence rates," she said.
A highlight of Ms. Gilmore's visit was Musasa Shelter for Gender-Based Violence Survivors, where she gained an overview of the extent of the problem, and the combined efforts of different stakeholders in addressing the problem and supporting survivors. A stopover at the Wilkins SGBV Clinic revealed the emergence of a vital service for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, including the Integrated Cervical Cancer Programme.
Ms. Gilmore's visit came at a time when UNFPA Zimbabwe is preparing to start a new programme cycle, its 7th Country Programme (2015 -2020). Over the next programme cycle, UNFPA Zimbabwe will strengthen its focus on development using a rights-centred approach around pregnant women, young girls and other vulnerable populations in Zimbabwe.
"What I have seen and heard has touched and inspired me greatly. Zimbabwe is a young country, doing great things. I have deep respect for the young professionals working with UNFPA and elsewhere in government and the City of Harare, who give me assurance that the support from UNFPA is making a difference in the lives of women, adolescents and children."
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund is the lead UN agency in expanding the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives. We are on the ground in more than 140 countries working with governments, civil society, development partners and the private sector to promote the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.
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UNFPA Communications Analyst, Bertha Shoko
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