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Zimbabwe, 27 June 2016: Government of Sweden contributes 199 Million Swedish Kroner (24 Million USD) to the Health Development Fund

© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2016/Smutsiwegota
Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Lars Ronnas

HARARE, Zimbabwe, 27 June 2016 – 
The Government of Sweden has today signed an agreement in which it will contribute 199 million SEK (US$24 million) to the Health Development Fund (HDF) for the period 2016 to 2020. The first disbursement for 2016 is 49 million SEK.

The Health Development Fund, which is being managed by UNICEF and UNFPA, is expected to help further consolidate and strengthen the health system in Zimbabwe, leading to improved health outcomes for mothers, new born babies and young people. It will further help to strengthen nutrition interventions through its support to the health sector.

Speaking at the official signing of the agreement today in Harare, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Lars Ronnas said it remains a pressing challenge to bring down the number of mothers who die in the process of giving birth to new life.

“With the agreement we have signed today, Sweden will provide a substantial contribution to bring down the maternal mortality rate in Zimbabwe. The agreement is part of a collective commitment by the Government of Zimbabwe, UNICEF, UNFPA and Sweden to provide health services of good quality to women, children and young people. These services are also to reach remote areas and for vulnerable groups to access,” he said.

Minister of Health and Child Care Hon. David Parirenyatwa commended the Government of Sweden for the contribution.

“As a country, we would like to thank and acknowledge the support that we have received from Sweden, along with DFID, EU, Irish AID, Canada, and Norway who have supported the Health Transition Fund and we are aware that you have already started putting your support together for the Health Development Fund. Let me thank you for all your efforts.”

© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2016/Smutsiwegota
Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Lars Ronnas and acting UNICEF Representative to Zimbabwe Dr Jane Muita signing the documents

Acting UNICEF Representative to Zimbabwe Dr Jane Muita commended the Government of Sweden for the contribution, noting that for the past five years, Sweden’s funding to the Health Transition Fund, H4+ Programme and the Integrated Support Programme has benefitted the health sector and contributed immensely to improved health outcomes for women and children.

Dr. Muita said Sweden’s support has not only been financial but has also included advocacy and technical assistance to ensure that the country’s priorities are addressed while incorporating gender justice and the needs of children and women.

“As the UN family and UNICEF as Fund Manager of the HDF, we appreciate the support of the Government of Sweden and its people and also thank and acknowledge partners that have contributed to the HDF so far, namely DFID, EU, and GAVI,” she said.

Zimbabwe has managed to bend the curve on maternal and child mortality after decades of an upward swing. A strong, robust partnership under government leadership has been key to revitalizing maternal, new-born and child health services and realizing the gains achieved so far. The Health Development Fund, together with other funding mechanisms supporting the health sector, have been instrumental in catalyzing the overall effort to resuscitate the health sector by investing in selected critical areas of the health system where huge funding gaps were identified.

“The HDF will help to consolidate the number of gains made in the health sector,” said UNFPA Country Representative Cheikh Tidiane Cisse. “The continued support of partners such as the Government of Sweden will help consolidate some of these gains.”



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