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Government of Japan hands over ambulances, health equipment, commodities worth over US$1 million to help save lives of pregnant women in Zimbabwe

Harare/Tokyo March 2, 2022 – The Government of Japan and the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, today handed over ambulances, health equipment and commodities, among other support, to the Government of Zimbabwe worth over US$1 million.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis caused by multiple factors, including recurring droughts and a dire economic situation. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this crisis by further straining an already weakened health system, particularly on maternal health, negatively impacting on the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. As of 2019, the country had an unacceptably high maternal mortality rate of 462 deaths per 100,000 live births, a number which is expected to have risen due to COVID-19.


The support from the Government of Japan under the Strengthening Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care in COVID-19 Hotspots, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Health and Child Care with technical support from UNFPA, will help save the lives of pregnant women in Zimbabwe through the use of the procured ambulances, equipment, and commodities and capacity building of health workers to deliver quality maternal health services.

This support will help improve the provision of maternal health care services within the ongoing context of COVID-19, specifically strengthening the referral system and ensuring the continuity of assisted delivery care in Harare and Bulawayo.  

"The Government of Zimbabwe would like to thank the United Nations Population Fund for mobilising US$1.3 million from the Government of Japan to support the strengthening of emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmONC) in COVID-19 hotspots of Harare and Bulawayo,” said Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr. John Mangwiro.

“We thank you for your valuable donation of eight (8) ambulances, anaesthetic machines, operating tables, delivery tables, ICU beds, infusion pumps, examination lights, Anti-Shock garments, umbilical clamps, Urinary Protein Test Strips, Doppler foetal heart monitor and midwifery kits, among others. The donated ambulances will help to strengthen the referral system for pregnant mothers."

Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, H.E. Mr Satoshi Tanaka said he hoped his Government’s contribution would support efforts to end maternal deaths.

"I hope that Japan’s support through this project will protect the lives of mothers and their newborns during this crisis, and further contribute to a health system that is robust enough to withstand future crises,” said the Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, H.E. Mr Satoshi Tanaka

Annually, there are an estimated 15,000 and 45,000 deliveries in Bulawayo and Harare respectively. Of these about 9,000 (15%) women have obstetric complications and require access to emergency obstetric care services. An estimated 60,000 women will be reached through these interventions.

“We are very grateful for the support from the Government of Japan which has already begun making a difference in the lives of women; this support will certainly be the difference between life and death for women giving life,” said UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Esther Muia. “However, a lot more work is still to be done to save the lives of mothers and their babies and as UNFPA, we remain very committed to working with partners such as the Government of Zimbabwe and the Government of Japan who value what we value too – and that is ensuring we end maternal deaths.”

About UNFPA:

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. UNFPA's mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, quality maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education. With a focus on Leaving No One Behind.


For more information and media queries please contact

Donald Mujiri, MOHCC Public Relations Manager Tel: +263 772 945 032 Email:

Oliver Wales-Smith, Economic Cooperation Assistant—Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe: Tel: +263 774 185 930, Email:

Bertha Shoko, Communications Analyst—UNFPA: Tel: +263 772 782 299 Email: