Belinda Kaziwisi of Mount Darwin, Zimbabwe, about 200 kilometers north of Harare, is among Zimbabwean mothers seeing increased benefits from funding provided by UNICEF.
“What I see has changed for the better is that from when I got pregnant to the delivery of my baby, I didn’t pay anything,” said Kajivisi, her healthy baby in her arms. “When I gave birth, I was given soap, cotton and other things for free. It was all good compared to what it used to be.”
With funding from UNICEF, the Zimbabwean government has hired health workers who encourage expectant mothers in rural villages to seek help from the country’s health institutions to avoid complications.
Letty Chindundu, one of the health workers, said, “We encourage expectant mothers to come to the clinic. We tell them: When you reach your third month of pregnancy, please visit the clinic. The health workers there will tell you that What to do. Your baby’s delivery journey becomes easier. Your baby will be taken care of while still in the tummy, as there are so many diseases now. If they don’t come to the clinic, the baby may be born with diseases That’s how we encourage them to come to the clinic—when they [become] Pregnant.”
Dr. Tajuddin Oyewale, UNICEF representative in Zimbabwe, said that having health workers in rural villages and funding the country’s health sector is paying off.
“[According to] The latest results from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, Zimbabwe have successfully halved the maternal mortality ratio in the last 10 years, and is a combination of various efforts. [by] Everyone,” Oyewale said. “The challenges are real as the world continues to evolve. we did not [know] COVID was about to come. There is innovation in what I have seen. The problem comes, our people innovate.”
Dr. Abubakar Kampo, UNICEF’s director of health programs, was a junior official in Zimbabwe for the UN agency when it launched a multi-donor pooled fund, to support the country’s hard-working health sector, nearly a decade ago. Health Transition Fund was launched.
This week, Kampo went to Zimbabwe to assess whether the fund has transformed Zimbabwe’s maternal, neonatal and child health systems. He said the fund is bearing fruit.
“I am very pleased with the progress Zimbabwe has made in providing health care to the entire population,” Kampo said. “It’s not perfect. But I can be proud of Zimbabwe’s achievement. I think you have fully functional health systems, especially in primary health care. What I’ve seen is an integrated system “
Kampo, a Malian citizen, said Zimbabwe now has a fully functional health system in primary health care, a stark contrast to the country almost a decade ago.