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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid