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Zambia’s national health indicators improve markedly

© UNICEF Zambia/2007/Inzy
Mortality has fallen by 30 per cent among young children in Zambia, according to a new demographic and health survey.

NEW YORK, USA, 28 May 2008 – Some good news out of Zambia: The country’s newest demographic and health survey shows that the sub-Saharan African nation of 12 million people has reduced its maternal and child mortality and HIV prevalence rates.

As a result, Zambia could be back on track to meet many more of its Millennium Development Goals than anyone expected only a year ago.

The new statistics show a 30 per cent reduction in mortality among children under the age of five since 2001 – from 168 to 119 per 1,000 live births. At the same time, the maternal mortality ratio has fallen from 729 to 449 per 100,000 live births.

The fight against HIV and AIDS also has recorded historic progress, with Zambia’s HIV prevalence rate falling from 15.6 per cent to 14.3 per cent.

© UNICEF Zambia/2007/Inzy
Zambia is now considered to be polio-free. Here, a Zambian child receives oral polio vaccine.

Credit to local health workers
“For a country with – especially in the health sector – very low capacity in terms of staffing … it’s really astounding,” says UNICEF Representative in Zambia Lotta Sylwander.

Zambia’s Minister of Health, Brigadier General Dr. Brian Chituwo, MP, attributes the country’s success to government partnerships with local and international organizations, and increased investment in health.

“These children should reach their very highest potential. Be it in schools, in hospitals, in mines, on the farms – we shall produce more,” he says.

“The people who really make a difference in all of this is actually the health worker out in the health clinic, who work under very hard conditions,” adds Ms. Sylwander. “But they still manage to go on and they still manage to somehow provide the services that are necessary to save mothers and children. Those are the real heroes of this story.”




28 May 2008:
UNICEF’s Lotta Sylwander and Zambia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Brian Chituwo, discuss the country’s new health survey.
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