News / Africa

Zimbabwe's Infant, Maternal Mortality Rates Drop

FILE - Zimbabwean women react as they wait to casts their votes at a polling station in Domboshava, about 45 km (28 miles) north of Harare, July 31, 2013.
FILE - Zimbabwean women react as they wait to casts their votes at a polling station in Domboshava, about 45 km (28 miles) north of Harare, July 31, 2013.

The United Nations is reporting huge improvements in Zimbabwe's prenatal, newborn and maternal health care over the past five years.

However, the U.N. Children's Fund says the survey indicates that Zimbabwe must continue working to improve health standards.

According to research findings released Friday, Zimbabwe’s infant and maternal mortality rates have declined by 20 and 36 percent, respectively, since 2009.

The number of pregnant women who received prenatal care increased from 57 to 70 percent, while mothers accessing care after giving birth had soared from 27 to 78 percent.

The UNICEF research was funded by the European Union and the government of Zimbabwe.

Much of Zimbabwe's progress is due to assistance from a multinational fund dedicated to improving health care for mothers, newsborns and young children.

Despite these encouraging results, UNICEF's chief representative in Zimbabwe, Reza Hossaini, says it is still too early to say all is well with early child care in the southern African country.

“Let us keep in mind that, yes, we have won battles here and there," said Hossaini. "We have bent the [trends of] maternal mortality, but we have really not won the war as yet. These gains cannot be sustained and further progress cannot be made if we lose our focus from those strategic choices that we have made, now that we know they have delivered positive results.”

Two of those strategic choices were investing in the health sector's human resources and making sure that the country maintains adequate supplies of necessary drugs.

Failure on those fronts was the major undoing of Zimbabwe’s health sector over the past two decades.

It was only after organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the European Union poured in money that the situation changed.

Optimism

Itai Rusike, who heads the Community Working Group on Health, an organization fighting for all Zimbabweans to enjoy health care, expressed optimism about the UNICEF report.

“Generally it is a good report,"  said Rusike. "It gives us hope in the sense that the indicators are kind of improving. But this report has to be linked up to what is happening on the ground.”

But he added there a dire need for better water and sanitation in most parts of Zimbabwe persists. More than 30 percent of Zimbabweans still do not have access to safe drinking water, the research showed, and Rusike said the real number is likely higher than that, since most water taps in urban areas are dry.

Dr. Gerald Gwinji, permanent secretary at Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health, is more upbea, calling the new health report one that gives the country a sense of direction.

"We now have to work on issues of quality and equity," he said. "These survey results are going to be one of our pillars of our next health strategy, and the next step is to do a bottleneck analysis [of the] ministry of health and child care. This will help to determine where to focus to help further improve on our health indicators."

Gwinji said Zimbabwe’s maternal mortality rate — 614 deaths in every 100,000 pregnancies — and infant mortality rate of 75 per 100,000 are still too high. He says further investment can reduce those losses.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid