Zimbabwe and United Nations agencies on Wednesday marked the 68th anniversary of the U.N. with calls for strong partnerships among all sectors including the local authority, traditional and religious leaders, civil society organisations and development partners.
Speaking at the belated commemoration held at Chitungwiza General Hospital, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, reiterated government’s commitment in resolving challenges through various programmes, policies, strategies and programmes aimed at promoting safer motherhood in an effort to reduce Zimbabwe’s high maternal mortality rate.
Dr. Parirenyatwa said, “One of the biggest issues underlying all this is the resources. DO we have the resources, particularly financial resources? This is where we come in. Government this past year gave the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare 9 percent of the national budget. This is not enough.”
Speaking at the same occasion, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Allain Noudehou, said maternal mortality continues to be an issue of global concern, adding that it is still the leading cause of death and disability among women.
At the same time, Edna Masiiwa of the Women Action Group urged government to effectively implement its hospital user-fee policy, saying it is one of the inhibiting factors discouraging women from visiting health centers.
Also present at the event was Chief Nyamukowo, who called on communities to challenge some retrogressive traditional beliefs blocking people from seeking modern medical help.
The United Nations agencies noted that the maternal mortality rate remains high in most parts of the world despite efforts being made to improve the provision of health to many people.
Zimbabwe’s maternal mortality rate stands at 960 deaths per 100,000 live births - that is three times higher than the global average and almost double that of the sub-Saharan region.
The United Nations Day celebrations, normally held on October 24th, were this year commemorated under the theme “For Safer Motherhood in Zimbabwe”.