REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH DEPARTMENT:
The Reproductive Health Unit is housed under the Family Health Department in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The Reproductive Health Unit coordinates provision of comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health services in all public health facilities in the country. The unit is also responsible for developing and implementing policies and strategies that guide implementation of Sexual and Reproductive Health interventions. It also provides professional and technical leadership, advice, support and supervision on Sexual and Reproductive Health issues.
- A Zimbabwe where pregnancy and childbirth do not pose a threat to the lives of mothers and newborns; where children are healthy and free of the preventable common childhood illnesses and are able to survive, grow through adolescenthood and develop to their full potential thereby fulfilling their role in the socioeconomic development
- To provide high quality comprehensive and integrated maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services by scaling up proven cost effective interventions at high population coverage through family and community, outreach and health facility level care
1) To reduce teenage pregnancy rate from 24% in 2010 to 12% by 2020.
2) To reduce the maternal mortality Ratio from 651 to 300 by 2020
3) To reduce the Neonatal Mortality Rate from 29 to 20 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2020
4) To create an enabling environment for provision and utilization of quality and equitable MNH services
5) To strengthen the capacity of health systems for planning and management of MNH programmes
6) To increase the availability, uptake and utilization of quality RMNCAH services
o Support provision of family planning services and commodities
o Provide quality maternal and newborn health care services including expanded PMTCT
o Strengthen awareness creation, screening and management of reproductive cancers.
o Provide appropriate, affordable, accessible and friendly adolescent sexual and reproductive health services
o Raise awareness and increase community participation in sexual and reproductive health and rights issues
o Engender all reproductive health activities
o Strengthen operational research, monitoring and evaluation of Reproductive Health interventions
Strategic approaches for Implementing Sexual and Reproductive Health Interventions:
The strategic approaches are based on the current maternal and neonatal health situation analysis:
- Implementing the Primary Health Care (PHC) approach, a strategy that seeks to respond equitably, appropriately and effectively to basic health needs and to address the underlying social, economic and political causes of poor health, to provide accessible essential health services and to involve the participation of the communities.
- Strengthening of the health systems by building capacities at all levels of the health sector and increasing access to quality coverage with high impact cost effective interventions in an integrated manner. Building of the human resource capacity is particularly critical.
- Empowering families and communities especially the poor, hard-to-reach and marginalized, which is essential to avoid disparities in access to services. Communities shall meaningfully participate in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of interventions at family, community and population level.
- Advocacy at all levels, which is paramount in promoting scaling up of resource mobilization and allocation of these resources towards interventions that will lead to the intended reduction in maternal, newborn and child mortality.
- Phased planning, and implementation that involves implementation in clear phases with timelines and benchmarks to enable re-planning for better results. The priority will be on building and strengthening existing health infrastructures, effective use of data to inform policy, planning, implementation and practice; as well as prioritization of continuous quality of care improvement.
- Mobilization of resources from a variety of sources at local, district, provincial, national and international level, utilizing data from monitoring and evaluation to provide the strong evidence to influence donors especially. While the strategy recognizes the importance of resources, it also spells out the need for efficiency while utilising those resources.
- Establishing operational partnerships to implement high impact interventions with government in the lead and donors, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders engaged in joint programming and co-funding of activities and technical reviews
Legislation, Regulation, Policies and Guidelines:
Numerous legal and policy documents, at the international as well as national levels, provide the conducive environment and framework for the operationalization of this Maternal and Neonatal Health Strategy. At the international level, Zimbabwe is a signatory to a number of important legal instruments that bind governments to create an enabling environment for delivery of maternal, neonatal and child health services including:
- The UN Convention for the Rights of the Child (1989)
- The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (1994)
- The Millennium Declaration (2000)
- The Abuja Declaration (2001)
- The Regional Child Survival Strategy for the African Region developed by WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank and adopted by the 56th Regional Committee of Health Ministers in August 2006
- The Maputo Plan of Action (2006)
- Ouagadougou Declaration (2008) on Primary Health Care and Health Systems in Africa
- The United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children
More recently, Zimbabwe made the commitment towards the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016 – 30), which is particularly pertinent to this Maternal and Neonatal Health Strategy. Zimbabwe is also one of the signatories to the 2011 United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS that set a global target of placing 15 million people on ART by 2015. Recent global commitments, such as the Double Dividend approach through WHO, UNICEF and EGPAF (focusing on 0-5 year olds), PEPFAR’s Accelerating Children’s HIV Treatment (ACT – focusing on 0-19 year olds) and the All In ! Initiative led by UNICEF and UNAIDS (10-19 year olds), have given impetus to the initiative to accelerate ART services for infants, children and adolescents.
At the national level, the Reproductive Health policy provides the framework for the provision of integrated maternal health, family planning, STI, HIV and AIDS services. The HIV and AIDS policy was updated in 2005 to address some weaknesses such as inadequate attention to child-related issues. Specific legislation that protect maternal, newborn and child health in the country include:
- Children’s Act (Chapter 5:06)
- Education Act
- Medical Dental and Allied Professionals Act
- Public Health Act
- Maintenance Act
- Termination of Pregnancy Act
- Disabled Persons Act
- Developed a National Maternal and Neonatal Health Strategy for 2017 to 2021
- Developed guidelines for conducting maternal and perinatal death audits.
- Constituted a National Maternal AND Perinatal Death Review Committee which sits every quarter
- Developed Guidelines on Key Interventions for Improving Perinatal and Neonatal Health Outcomes in Zimbabwe
- Developed and launched the National Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) Strategy II for 2016 – 2020
- Developed guidelines on Youth Friendly Clinical SRH Service Provision
- Developed a National Standard Training Manual on ASRH
- Developed an ASRH Training Participant handbook;
- Piloted the Parent to Child- Communication (PCC) on SRH issues in Hurungwe district
- Lunched and rolled out implementation of the National Cervical Cancer Screening and Management programme through VIAC.
- Capacitating health workers at all levels to offer long term acting family planning methods.
- Launched the Health Development Fund (HDF) which is supporting implementation of all Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Interventions (including procuring blood and blood related products meant to assist women with pregnant related complications).
- Commissioned the following studies whose results/ findings are currently being used to inform implementation of various low cost and high impact Sexual and Reproductive Health Interventions:
o National Integrated Health Facility Assessment – 2010
o National Service Availability and Readiness Assessment – 2014
o National Adolescent Fertility Study – 2016
- Developed an electronic Maternal and Perinatal Death Notification System
- Developed and rolled out production of the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) Scorecard
Deputy Director Reproductive Health Service
Tel:+263 4 798537-60