Government on Wednesday bestowed a special recognition to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa by appointing her the ambassador for child and maternal health after noticing her immense contribution towards raising awareness in those issues.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Amai Mnangagwa received a plaque and a trophy for championing child and maternal health at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Amai Mnangagwa has been at the forefront of promoting maternal health in particular raising cervical cancer awareness.
Upon becoming Zimbabwe’s Lady, Amai Mnangagwa quietly visited the country’s major hospitals.
These visits were later to be joined by the Ministry of Health officials.
Amai Mnangagwa also launched the Human Papilloma Virus vaccination programme in May in Manicaland province.
“It is a great honour and privilege to me to stand here in front of you dignified ladies and gentlemen accepting this role of ambassador or champion on women and children health issues,” Amai Mnangagwa said in her acceptance speech.
She thanked the Ministry for acknowledging and recognizing her efforts in an area she loves so much.
“May I applaud the ministry of health and childcare for its insight and consideration having noted that this is an area I am deeply passionate about,” she said. “…I visited several health institutions. Sometimes I have gone to witness service delivery and at times have brought in foodstuffs and nutrition gardens to complement hospital efforts in providing sufficient nourishment for in patients,. Through liaising with Ministry of Health officials and working with them, I quickly realized that the gap of mother and child health issues could be helped by scaling up advocacy and awareness. The vulnerable in our midst need our care and support. There is need for a voice to speak for them and make in authority those aware of their plight. Through my organization, the Angel of Hope Organisation, we have undertaken to improve women and child health so as to reduce maternal and children’s deaths. Since the beginning of the year, my team has worked with the Ministry of Health and Childcare in the cervical cancer programme carrying out screen initiatives in hospitals.”
Amai Mnangagwa is up for the task as ambassador.
“Being an ambassador is meant to embody the identity of the organization in every way including its values and ethics. The person is to have the right attitude and enthusiasm to represent and promote interest that are vital for the success of the programme. I am willing to take that role. I desire to see a reduction in maternal health and children deaths. I long to see adults and children enjoy good nutrition. I will relentlessly fight new HIV infections through increased awareness campaigns. I will also continue to fight the war against cancer by ensuring that women are educated on the life cycle of the disease. This knowledge will make women aware of the stages of cancer and empower them to get screened and seek early treatment,” she said.
She also reflected on her experience at the hospitals.
“Inini ndaifunga kuti iyi noise yandiri kuita ndirikuda kuzonzwa kuti Minister vachati ko iyi noise yanyanya ndeyeyi. Handina kuziva kuti noise iyi kunemi vari muHealth fraternity meant a lot. Handina kuziva kuti maitoida asi ndofunga makazongonyara kuti ko matanga sei . Ko madii? Makanyara kuzonditsuura nekuti ndanga ndatopinda mazviri. Ndaifadzwa nazvo pandaitenderera ndichitaura nevanhu. Mimwe mibvunzo ndaisagona kuipindura munoziva kana wadenha vanhu vanenge vachiti tozodini tozodini but zvinonoise yandatanga regai ndizobvunza minister kuti ndizvo here. Asi vakatenda kuti noise yamatanga ndochaizvo. Zvikanzi naminister tinokutendai. Handina kuziva kuti mhere mhere yandaiita yandisvitsa pandasvika nhasi to be recognized in such a manner(I thought the awareness I made would get the minister’s attention but to the health fraternity it meant a lot. I didnt know you needed this or probably you were shy to tell me. It was a rewarding experience meeting people at hospitals I visited getting them to ask me questions I didnt know how to answer. I had to consult the Minister but fortunately he was happy with my work and he thanked me. Its quite an honour to realise that this work I have been doing has led me to be recognised in such a manner) ,” she said.
Health and Childcare minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said, “We then Sat down as MOHCC and decided to not only honour the First Lady, but also ask her to expand her area of advocacy from cervical cancer screening services to all issues to do with women and children’s health. I am glad to say that she readily agreed. The support to the cervical cancer screening program started on 7 February 2018 at United Bulawayo Hospital. The program was quite interesting in that The First Lady herself got screened at United Bulawayo Hospital. This had a positive effect of demystifying the program.”