USAID launches $25mln family health programme for Zim

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Chenge Murimwa

HARARE – The United States Agency for International Development is aiming to reduce Zimbabwe’s maternal mortality rate through a five year $25 million family health programme that they have launched. USAID Mission Director Stephanie Funk says the Mhuri/Imuli programme is expected to improve the health of families.

“We are excited because we are celebrating the launch of our new five year $25 million programme called Mhuri/Imuli.

“USAID is proud to partner with a great team from FHI360 on this programme to improve the health of Zimbabwean families, and I have no doubt that we will achieve impressive results,” said Funk.

Funk says through a previous family programme which they implemented with other stakeholders they managed to reduce maternal, new born and child deaths.

“We improved the health of 230 000 mothers and 1.5 million babies and children in Manicaland, We also trained over 3, 000 community based health care workers. Our improving Family Planning Services programme reached over 650 000 Zimbabweans, said Funk.

She said the new Mhuri / Imuli programme will build on these achievements.

Funk said despite numerous efforts to improve family lives in Zimbabwe, the country is still struggling with high levels of maternal and child deaths.

Zimbabwe’s most recent household survey, carried out in June 2014, reported 614 deaths per 100,000 live births for the seven year-period before the survey and 581 deaths per 100,000 live births for the preceding five years.

The Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa who was the guest of honour at the launch says they look forward to improving health of families under the Mhuri / Imuli programme.

“The Ministry together with Mhuri will improve the health and survival of mothers, young children and young people in all the seven districts of Manicaland and we hope this project will cascade to all the ten provinces in the country,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Dr Parirenyatwa said an audit committee in the Ministry of Health had been set up to interrogate the causes of maternal and child mortality in Zimbabwe and the Mhuri/Imuli programme would go a long way in solving Zimbabwe’s family health problems.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care has the mandate to provide the highest possible level of health care and quality life for all its citizens. This is only possible through the combined efforts of individuals, communities, and contributions and participation of a myriad of stakeholders involved in both financing and providing technical support for the improved delivery of health services nationwide,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Dr Parirenyatwa called on nurses to desist from questioning women who would have aborted. He said nurses should concentrate on giving post abortion care.

“Our institutions should not question women… our duty is to look after them, counsel them and not to interrogate them, we are not police,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Dr Parirenyatwa said they are also working on how to increase remuneration for village health workers.