European Union extends further support to UNFPA

10 April 2018
EU Commissioner during visit to the maternity wing of the Edith Opperman Hospital in Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe, 9 April, 2018 - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is among developmental agencies set to benefit from further financial support from the European Union (EU) through a grant €20,6 million Euro.

Some of these funds will towards the multi donor Health Development Fund, implemented jointly by the UNFPA and UNICEF while Save the Children will receive at least €2.8 million to spearhead programmes aimed at assisting grassroots associations to work towards improving the livelihoods of 15 000 young women and men

The Health Development Fund was set up to improve the health status of women, newborns, children & adolescents. The support from the EU will be dedicated towards ensuring equitable access to quality health services for women and children with specific focus on the reduction of maternal and child mortality, improving women and young people’s access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services, among many other things.

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, who was in the country to sign over the additional support said the funds are meant to support programmes aimed at improving people’s access to health services and enhance their livelihoods.

"I am here to show to the Zimbabwean people and authorities that the EU stands ready to accelerate its support to their transition towards democracy and prosperity. I am also happy to launch new EU support programmes for a total amount of €23 million in the area of health and job creation. As Zimbabwe opens a new chapter in its history, we are putting our trust in the authorities to seize this unique opportunity and address the political and economic challenges in the country,” Mr Mimica said during the launch ceremony, at Stodart Hall in Mbare. 

Zimbabwe Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa who also signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe said vulnerable groups such as children under five and pregnant women will now have free access to free health care at government hospitals and council clinics to  support government efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates.

The EU Commissioner also took time to visit EU funded projects, notably the Edith Opperman Clinic in Mbare under City of Harare Health Department before the sign ceremony at Stoddart Hall.  The EU and Zimbabwe have a longstanding partnership in the area of health, addressing specifically mother and child health as well as HIV prevention with €2 billion having been disbursed to Zimbabwe in the past fifteen years.

There have already been notable achievements over the past years largely through support of the EU and other funding partners Britain, Ireland and Sweden to the Health Development Fund. On SRHR between 2016 and 2017 - more than 180,000 women were screened for cervical cancer at the supported 101 cervical cancer clinics with a 57% treatment rate. There was improved access and use of Family Planning services with about 464,082 and 428,000 additional women 16-49 using modern FP method in 2016 and 2017 respectively while a total of 36,001 and 74,502 new adolescents and young people accessed contraceptives at supported facilities in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“The support of EU and other HDF partners, the governments of Britain, Ireland and Sweden had contributed immensely to the great results we are proud of today,” said UNFPA Country Representative Dr Esther Muia. “We look forward to reaching more women and young people with services through this additional funding from the EU.”