The Department for International Development (DFID) has availed US$82.1 million to improve sexual, reproductive health and nutrition services for women , adolescents and children.This grant will finance finance health interventions implemented under the hEALTH development Fund while US$2.2 million will be for strengthening the country’s capacity to prevent,detect and respond to outbreaks.
Speaking at the Launch the Deputy Minister of Health and child Care Hon. Aldrin Musiiwa pointed out that Zimbabwe acknowledged the importance of partnerships in ensuring a high standard of health care.
“The country remains focused on achieving the highest standard of health care and quality of life possible for all its citizens”, he said.
“We are cognisant of the fact that on our own , we will not be able to achieve this mission but rather , a lot can be achieved through partnerships and support from all health partners and involvement of all stakeholders,”said Hon. Musiiwa.
DFID ’s Head of Mission in Zimbabwe Annabel Gerry re affirmed the UK government’s commitment to supporting a resilient health system in Zimbabwe.
She went on to point out that UK’s support has transformed lives over the years.
“Through the UK’s support, the availability of basic medicines in rural health centres has risen from 12 percent to over 90 90 percent and we have seen an increase in the contraceptive rate from 57 percent to 66 percent, putting Zimbabwe above the global average and over double the continental average,”said Annabel Gerry.
The Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr. Mohamed Ayoya said that “Important milestones have also been achieved in the provision of universal access to sexual reproductive health services for women and adolescents.
“These include family planning, cervical cancer screening, fistula repair surgery, HIV prevention services for key populations and access to medical survivors of sexual gender based violence,”He said.
The Key components of the U.K programme to support a Resilient Health System in Zimbabwe are 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 percent to 6 percent and increasing the number of women screened for screened for cervical cancer from 240 000 to 465 000.
The program is also aimed at increasing the number of children with severe acute malnutrition cured and discharged from 62 percent to 70 percent and 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.
DEPUTY MINISTER HON. ALDRIN MUSIIWA’S SPEECH
On behalf of the Zimbabwean Government, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the people of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf I am highly honoured to officiate at the occasion of launching the resilient health systems support from the UK Government to the health sector.
The support is coming through specific funding channels of which the Health development Fund is receiving the biggest envelope. I understand 69 Million Pounds over two years. This is not surprising for Zimbabwe as we are still challenged with the maternal, child health issues, and sexual and reproductive health.
DFID has been one of the main contributors to the Health Transition Fund and the Integrated Support Programme since 2012 and this welcome development of the resilient health systems will see most of the efforts from these programmes being continued under the Health Development Fund thus sustaining the gains achieved so far. The HDF is a mechanism for fund raising and ensuring that the country has a way to pool resources for health and more sustainable results. The Fund is a coordinated effort by the Government of Zimbabwe and Development Partners in supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care to improve equitable access and quality of health care in Zimbabwe, with special emphasis on Women, Newborns, Children and Adolescents.
The earlier support has helped to revive the health sector and this new support should enable the country to continue to reduce the maternal mortality rate from the current 614 deaths per 100,000 live births. The same support I am assured will find its way to deal with the following:
- Mortality of the neonates and under five years of age.
- Scale up of the family planning activities and issues around adolescent Health and also the issues around child marriages.
- One very crucial area which is important to the health of the women in Zimbabwe is Gender Based Violence, which we have noted has slowly been increasing in the country.
- Health systems support with special focus on increased availability of medicines and family planning commodities more so at the primary level of the health provision
- Results Based Financing will continue with this support. RBF has empowered our primary health facilities to improve on the service provision in both the quantity and quality, with this support the focus on quality will be enhanced.
- As a country we struggle with action on stunting and the support from on nutrition interventions from DFID will go a long way to address this issue more so in the targeted districts.
- The response to cancer especially cervical cancer is critical for the country.
One of the areas which we seem to be having running battles with are epidemic prone diseases, such as typhoid and as a country you can never have everything ready for any emergency. The support for capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks and epidemics is most welcome. It is coming when the rain season is about to begin and should assist to ensure that the country is ready for any emergencies.
My Ministry has recently been discussing with Parliament on the allocation of resources to health. While there is a notable limited fiscal space the innovation of the Health Fund created through the airtime levy, is going to bring some relief on medicines and medical products especially for the referral facilities.
With this in mind my Ministry when it receives this support will ensure that, it is used as efficiently and effectively as much as is possible. One strategy Zimbabwe has retained, is the use of the primary health care and this will be continued with the DFID support and will in most ways guarantee equitable distribution of resources and also ensuring that low cost high impact interventions are adopted throughout the continuum of care THUS leaving no one behind.
The country remains focussed at achieving the highest standard of health care and quality of life possible for all its citizens. We are cogniscent 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 stake holders.
Going forward we have set ourselves ambitious targets as given in our National Health Strategy (2016-2020) of which on an annual basis we need over 1 Billion USD. Efforts such as this one, madam Gerry are encouraged not only from DFID but from other partners as well. We applaud the use of the Health Development Fund as this mechanism has encouraged integration of ideas and resources for better results for the health sector.
Thank you once again Madam for the Previous Support and for the support which we launch together today. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you all for joining us on this special event,
I thank you.