LUSAKA/COPPERBELT, ZAMBIA, 14-16 November 2017 – Upgraded health facilities in Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces worth 10 million kwacha (US$ 1 million) have been officially inaugurated by the Ministry of Health during site visits with officials from the European Union, which provided the funding through the Millennium Development Goal initiative (MDGi).
The new and refurbished maternal and child health wings will help provide quality health care, particularly for mothers and children. The investment at the three facilities, which includes refurbishment, medical equipment, training and supplies, comes to 10,523,664 million kwacha.
“Over the past two decades, Zambia has managed to reduce child mortality by more than 50 per cent,” said the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, MP, who officiated at the handovers in Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces. “I continue to be proud of this progress. Achievement of such a reduction was due to the key public health interventions for children implemented by the Government of the Republic of Zambia. Since the inception of the MDGi programme, my Ministry has been working to accelerate progress towards reducing the needless deaths of babies and mothers. With continued support from our partners at the European Union and the United Nations, I am confident that further progress is achievable.”
The three sites being inaugurated are Ngwerere Main (Chongwe district) and George Health Centres in Lusaka Province and Kaniki Urban (in Ndola district) on the Copperbelt Province.
The Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Zambia and COMESA, Gianluca Azzoni said, “We are pleased that the Zambian MDGi programme is a comprehensive multi-sectoral programme with interventions at health facility, district and community level, covering the whole continuum of care from reproductive health, pregnancy, delivery, postnatal care, child health and nutrition. The programme focuses on improving the quality of care to mothers, adolescents and children within the health facility and through outreach into the communities – helping Zambia's most vulnerable populations.”
MDGi aims at accelerating the reduction of maternal, neonatal and child mortality in Zambia. The programme is funded by the European Union (EU) with an investment of Euro 49.5 Million (582 million kwacha). It is implemented by the Ministry of Health with technical support of UNICEF and the United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA). The programme covers Ndola, Luanshya, Kitwe, Mufulira, Chingola and Masaiti districts in Copperbelt Province and Lusaka, Kafue, Chilanga, Chongwe, and Rufunsa districts in Lusaka Province.
UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. Mary Otieno said: “Making pregnancy and childbirth safer is a human rights imperative. All 5 major direct causes of maternal death – haemorrhage, sepsis, hypertensive disorders, obstructed labour and unsafe abortion - can be treated at a well-equipped health facility, such as the ones upgraded in Lusaka and Copperbelt as part of the MDGi Project. With such facilities, we can make pregnancy and childbirth safer, and ultimately reduce maternal and child mortality.”
UNICEF Country Representatives, Ms. Noala Skinner said: “Children are hardest hit by poverty in Zambia, and the poorest children under the age of five are almost twice as likely to die as children from the wealthiest households. The survival of mothers and newborns continues to be compromised by poor nutrition, HIV/AIDS and the lack of access to quality maternal, newborn and child health services, including water and sanitation. These refurbished facilities continue our work with the Ministry of Health to provide quality health services that are friendly and accessible to all.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Zambia, visit www.unicef.org/zambia.