Zimbabwe’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality received a major boost last week following that launch of Mhuri Imuli, a USAID project aimed at improving the health of more than 700,000 women and over 1.5 million babies and children in the country.
Speaking at the launch, USAID Mission Director, Stephanie Funk, said partnering with FHI360 team in the program would go a long way in improving the health of the Zimbabwean people who are struggling to access facilities.
“We are here to award FHI360 funding through a Cooperative Agreement worth $25 million over the next five years to expand maternal, newborn, child health and family planning services,” said Funk.
She added that the program will provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) to expand access to and improve the quality of reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health services.
“Mhuri Imuli will build on these achievements by strengthening the skills and knowledge of health care workers, bolstering community health systems, and integrating maternal and child health services with reproductive health care.
“The program will help improve the health and survival of mothers, babies and children in all seven districts of Manicaland (to about 1.7 million people) through the continuum of care from home to community, to primary care facilities and referral hospitals as well as to equip the ever impressive village health workers to help save lives,” added Funk.
According to Funk, FHI360 has been a critical partner of USAID/Zimbabwe and is also implementing DREAMS initiative and the US Index Testing approach.
She added that the Mhuri Imuli will improve the health of mothers and children in all seven districts of Manicaland by increasing access to high quality health services, from the home to the community, primary care facilities, and hospitals.
In total, the USAID program will make available critical health services to approximately 1.75 million people in Manicaland province, including hard-to-reach populations.
According to the 2015/2016 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS), there has been notable reduction in maternal mortality since 2010, from 960 to 651 deaths per 100,000 live births, and in under-5 mortality from 84 to 69 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Manicaland province has a relatively higher rate, with one in 10 dying before the age of five.