Message from Dr. Iyorlumun J. Uhaa - UNICEF Zambia Representative
Welcome to UNICEF Zambia’s Website. We value your support so much – whether it’s supporting the Government’s Child Health Weeks, being a “U-Reporter,” or even just taking the time to follow our work through this portal or on our Facebook and Twitter social media platforms.
The past four weeks have been a really exciting period as we work to help Zambia reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. As many of you know, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta visited Zambia in April and she worked really hard and effectively to galvanize support for A Promise Renewed.
The global A Promise Renewed campaign began last year in Washington, DC when a high-level national delegation from Zambia joined more than 700 senior representatives from over 80 countries and many civil society and private sector organizations to renew the world’s commitment to end preventable child deaths. Since that meeting, more than 170 governments – Zambia included -- signed a pledge that committed their respective governments to make every possible effort to accelerate declines in preventable child deaths and give every child the best possible start in life.
Ms. Rao Gupta came to Zambia in part to help launch a key A Promise Renewed milestone, the Government’s Roadmap for Accelerating Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality 2013-2016. It was a mammoth task to complete the road map, but Government and partners completed it on time. It is a costed, detailed plan that indicates how Zambia can reduce child mortality by about 39 per cent in both rural and urban areas by 2016 – and maternal mortality by 28 per cent.
The road map aims at saving an average of 27,000 lives -- 26,000 under-five children’s lives and 1,000 mothers’ lives -- every year and my Deputy Executive Director made it clear to our partners in Zambia that UNICEF is fully committed to support the nation achieve these goals.
Also in April, the Vice President, His Honour Dr. Guy Scott (MP), launched the First 1,000 Most Critical Days programme that seeks to reduce the country’s high chronic malnutrition among children below five years of age, which currently stands at 46.7 per cent. Zambia’s new National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan for Zambia 2011-2015 provides a strategy to reduce child stunting by 30 per cent by 2015.
The First 1,000 Most Critical Days is part of the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) programme and Ms. Rao Gupta explained that A Promise Renewed provides a solid platform for bringing together the SUN and many other initiatives that focus on hygiene and sanitation, safe water, and other areas that impact the lives of children and mothers. A Promise Renewed is a broad campaign encompassing much of what UNICEF works on in Zambia in health and nutrition, HIV and AIDS, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene.
Ms. Rao Gupta and I also had the great pleasure to support the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs launch a national advocacy campaign to end child marriages in Zambia, a vitally important new initiative that UNICEF will provide with comprehensive support. As I’ve mentioned to my colleagues at UNICEF Zambia, launching new projects are important but what’s more important in my view is the work that follows.
I can assure all of our supporters that UNICEF will mobilize all of our technical support and resources to help Zambia reach these ambitious but obtainable goals.
I thank you and look forward to writing to you next month.
Dr. Iyorlumun J. Uhaa