Swedish Members of parliament visit Sida supported programmes

6 April 2018
Members of Parliament being briefed on arrival at United Bulawayo Hospitals

Harare, Zimbabwe, 06 April , 2017 – Members of Parliament from Sweden who were in Zimbabwe from 6-9 April had the opportunity to visit programme sites under the Health Development Fund (HDF) which is co funded by Sweden and implemented by UNFPA and UNICEF.

The HDF is a multi-donor fund to the health sector, with a focus on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH-A). The HDF builds on the achievements of two health sector programmes, the Health Transition Fund, which was managed by UNICEF, and the Integrated Support Programme (ISP), which was managed by UNFPA.

Sweden is a long standing partner of UNFPA globally. In Zimbabwe this support dates back to the ISP where the Government of Sweden supported a number of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programmes, reaching many women and young women with essential and life-saving services.

The team visited UNFPA programmes in Zimbabwe on family planning, cervical cancer screening, safe motherhood, Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) and Gender Based Violence prevention and response.

In Harare, the team visited the Hopley project where UNFPA has partnered the International Labour Organisation, City of Harare Health Department and private company LaFarge Cement in the construction of a youth centre and clinic as part of the Joint Program on Adolescent and Youth Development (JPAYD).  The programme seeks to support young people to lead healthy, productive lives through; reducing unwanted pregnancies, early marriages, incidences of HIV, school dropouts and creating employment opportunities.

Hopley is a peri-urban district located on the outskirts of Harare with a population of approximately, 200 000 people, with about 65 000 being aged between 10-24years. Young people in this community have limited access to work opportunities often relying on informal work characterized by decent work deficits and working poverty. Child marriages and teenage pregnancies are common; at 18% and 21% respectively. At least 70% of girls are mothers by age 24 years. Once complete about 65,000 young people aged 10-24 years will have access to the clinic for SRHR services and the youth centre for youth development programs.

The team also visited United Bulawayo Hospitals in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. United Bulawayo Hospital is a central hospital in Bulawayo metropolitan. It is referral hospital for Matabeleland South province, part of Matabeleland North, Midlands and Masvingo Province and a centre of excellence in the integration of HIV and SRH services. The hospital, through support from the HDF, provides services such as cervical cancer screening and treatment, family planning, Maternal Neonatal Care Health, fistula repair, medical care for survivors of Sexual Gender Based Violence and youth friendly services.

The members of parliament toured the facility and were briefed on some of the challenges facing the hospital such as space constraints in the Family Care Health providing little privacy and confidentiality for patients, especially when handling survivors of SGBV. Other areas requiring attention include limited theatre space for surgeries such as fistula. They also toured the maternity wing and the youth friendly centre.

Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Sofia Calltorp said the visit was important to appraise Members of Parliament on Swedish support to Zimbabwe.

“As Sweden we would like our support to reach the most vulnerable members of the population,” she said.

UNFPA Country Representative Dr Esther Muia said UNFPA said she hoped the visit by the members of parliament from Sweden would help bring more support for women and young people’s access to SRHR.

“A lot of progress has been made to ensure access to SRHR services for women and young people through support from the Government of Sweden over the years,” said Dr Muia. “We are very grateful for this and also very hopeful that this support will continue so that we continue to these key members of our population with critical SRHR services.”