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UK programme to support a resilient health system in Zimbabwe launched

Harare, 09 November 2017: Through the Department for International Development (DFID), the UK Government is making available GBP 65.2 million (US$ 82.1 million) to improve sexual, reproductive, health, and nutrition services for women, adolescents, and children. The majority of this grant will finance health interventions implemented under the Health Development Fund while US$ 2.2 million will be for strengthening Zimbabwe’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.

“Through the UK’s support, the availability of basic medicines in rural health centres has risen from 12 per cent to over 90 per cent and we’ve seen an increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate from 57 per cent to 66 per cent, putting Zimbabwe above the global average and over double the continental average,” said DFID Head of Mission in Zimbabwe Annabel Gerry. “These are impressive numbers – and it is important to remember that behind every statistic is a life changed and in many cases a life saved. Through this programme, DFID continues to support the recovery of the health system and of health services across the country.”

The Programme builds on the progress Zimbabwe has made in reducing maternal and child mortality, expanding full immunization coverage, increasing the proportion of births attended to by skilled health personnel, and increasing access to sexual reproductive health services for women and girls, such as fistula repair surgery, cervical cancer screening and family planning.

“The country remains focused on achieving the highest standard of health care and quality of life possible for all its citizens,” said Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Hon. Aldrin Musiiwa. “We are cognizant of the fact that on our own, we will not be able to achieve this mission but rather, a lot can be achieved through strong partnerships and support from all health partners and involvement of all stakeholders.”

The UK has been a long-term supporter of the health sector in Zimbabwe. This Programme will see the UK continue to support implementation of the National Health Strategy 2016-2020. The Programme will strengthen the health system, improve service delivery through the Health Development Fund (HDF), and support Zimbabwe’s capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks and epidemics.

“A resilient health system is the bedrock of a country’s development aspirations,” said acting UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Mohamed Ayoya. “Today’s event builds on the important work that has gone into restoring Zimbabwe’s health system. The United Nations in Zimbabwe is delighted to be part of this Programme and pledges its commitment to continue supporting the government to sustain ongoing health programmes and contribute to a more robust and resilient health system.” 

Key components of the programme include:

  • Increasing the number of children receiving Vitamin A supplements from 624,248 to 1,101,614;
  • Reducing the percentage of adolescents with unmet family planning needs from 13 per cent to 9 per cent;
  • Increasing the number of children with severe acute malnutrition cured and discharged from 62 per cent to 70 per cent;
  • Increasing the number of women screened for cervical cancer from 240,000 to 465,000;
  • Increasing the number of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence accessing services within 72 hours per year from 1,600 in 2016 to 2,300.