Sunday, 10 October 2010 12:06

ZIMBABWE: UN Backs Initiative to Reduce Child and Maternal Deaths in Zimbabwe


In an effort to curb child and maternal mortality rates in Zimbabwe, the United Nations and the World Bank are supporting a $700 million Government initiative to increase spending on the provision of health services in the country over the next three years.

The aim of the health investment plan, backed by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, is to cut child mortality rates by 38 per cent and reduce maternal mortality rates by 17 per cent, according to Marixie Mercado, UNICEF's spokesperson in Geneva.

The initiative was prompted by the recognition that child and maternal health in Zimbabwe have worsened over the past decade, as the country's health care system deteriorated, Ms. Mercado said.

An estimated 100 Zimbabwean children die each day from mainly preventable causes and about 35 per cent of children are stunted. Health care workers and medical supplies are insufficient or unaffordable where available, in a country where more than 80 per cent of working age population is unemployed.

The plan is intended to raise investments in health from the current $9 per person to the $44 per person recommended by WHO.

Source: UN News Service

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