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Zimbabwe, 8 October 2015: Government launches Health Development Fund to improve access to quality health for women, children and adolescents

© UNICEF 2015

MARONDERA, Zimbabwe, 8 October 2015 – The Government of Zimbabwe, in partnership with the United Nations and Development Partners has launched the Health Development Fund (HDF), a multi-donor fund to the health sector, with a focus on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH-A).

Building on the achievements of two health sector programmes - the Health Transition Fund (HTF), managed by UNICEF, and the Integrated Support Programme (ISP), managed by UNFPA - the HDF aims to consolidate and improve on gains made over the past five years by strengthening health systems and scaling up the implementation of high impact RMNCH-A, and nutrition interventions through support to the health sector.

The HDF comes at a time when a good baseline has been created by the HTF and the Integrated ISP among the other Programmes which have worked to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. However, with a current maternal mortality rate of 614 per 100 000 live births in Zimbabwe, more work still needs to be done to further reduce these deaths.

“The HDF is part of the ministry’s efforts to ensure that funding partners are coordinated to fund specific, identified gaps and needs on maternal, child and adolescent health,” said the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa.

“The HDF, if fully funded will raise over US$600 million for the mothers, children and young people in the country and will ensure that gains made to reduce maternal and child deaths are sustained.”

The HDF aims to raise US$680 million over five years. So far, the European Union and the governments of UK, Sweden, and Ireland as well as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) have indicated their willingness to be part of the HDF.

“The emphasis on inclusiveness and equity in the next phase of the HDF is crucial,” said Annabel Gerry, head of mission at the Department for International Development in Harare. “We need to reach out to the more remote areas and the most vulnerable groups. Here, I am thinking of women and girls, adolescents, and the urban and rural poor amongst others. Access to health services is still a major challenge for many of these groups.”

Within the context of the 2016-2020 National Health Sector Strategy, the HDF aims to ensure equitable access to quality health services for women and children, which will result in the reduction of maternal and child mortality by 50%, increase in access to family planning, halving the prevalence of stunting in underfive children, and elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV, all by 2020, while combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and other preventable diseases.

“The goals we have set are very ambitious and can only be achieved through our continued commitment and hard work as the UN family,” said UNICEF Country Representative Reza Hossaini. “We must do everything we can to achieve results for the women, children and young people.”

The HDF which will run between 2016 and 2020, will operate under seven thematic areas – Maternal; Newborn; Child Health and Nutrition; Sexual Reproductive Health Rights; Medical Products, Vaccines and Technologies; Human Resources for Health; Health Financing; Health Policy and Planning; and Technical Support, Operations, Research and Innovation.

“The Health Development Fund pillars speak quite strongly to some of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Ms. Kate Gilmore. “There is need for a concerted effort to end preventable maternal and new-born deaths and disabilities.”


For more information and media queries please contact:

Victor Chinyama, Chief of Communications – UNICEF: Tel: 263 772 124 268:

Donald Mujiri, Public Relations Officer – MOHCC: Tel: 0712 867337:

Bertha Shoko, Communications Analyst – UNFPA: Tel: 263 772 782 299:



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