USAID has launched a $25 million family health program dubbed the Mhuli/Imuli which is a five year package meant to improve the health of Zimbabwean families
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking at the launch, USAID mission director Stephanie Funk, said the program is a partnership between FHI360 and the USAID and will expand martenal, newborn, child health and family planning services.
“Today is an exiting day. It is exiting because we are celebrating the launch of our new five year $25 million program called Mhuri/Imuli. In English, that means family. USAID is proud to partner with a great team from FHI360 on this program to improve the health for Zimbabwean families, and I have no doubt that we will achieve impressive results,” said Funk.
She added that through a previous family program which was a partnership between MCHIP and USAID which was implemented in Manicaland, they managed to reduce maternal, new-born and child deaths.
“We improved the health of 230, 000 mothers and 1.5 million babies and children in Manicaland and trained over 3, 000 community based health care workers. Our improving Family Planning Services program reached over 650 000 Zimbabweans with comprehensive, voluntary family planning services.
“This new program will build on these achievements. Through this program, USAID and FHI360 will help improve the health and survival of mothers, babies and children in all seven districts of Manicaland through the continuum of care from home, to the community, to primary care facilities and referral hospitals,” said Funk.
She also said they would also use innovative approaches to reach more young women and men with family planning services in all the country’s 10 provinces.
However, despite numerous efforts to improve family lives in Zimbabwe, the country is still struggling with high levels of maternal and child deaths. According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) 2015/16 the country showed signs of reduction in maternal mortality since 2010, from 960 to 651 per 100 000 live births, and in under 5 mortality from 84 to 69 deaths per 1000 live births.
Manicaland has the worst health outcomes for children in the country with one in 10 dying before the age of five. The Mhuri/imulu program will ensure critical health services are made available to 1.75 million people in Manicaland, including hard to reach populations.
Officiating at the launch, health and Child Care minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said they have set up an audit committee in the ministry of health to interrogate the cause of the maternal and child mortality in Zimbabwe and the Mhuri/Imuli program would go a long way in solving Zimbabwe’s family health problems.
“Maternal Newborn Child Health and Family Planning (MNCH-FP) Project, in collaboration with other partners.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care has the mandate to provide the highest possible level of health care and quality life for all its citizens. This is only possible through the combined efforts of individuals, communities, and contributions and participation, of a myriad of stakeholders, involved in both financing and providing technical support for the improved delivery of health services nationwide,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
Morbidity and mortality trends in Zimbabwe show that the population is still affected by common preventable diseases and conditions including communicable diseases and complications of pregnancy and childbirth. The Mhuri/Imuli project will respond by supporting my Ministry to improve the health and survival of mothers, young people and children in all seven districts of Manicaland province through the continuum of care, from the home, community, primary care facility and the referral hospital. The project will also support the use of innovative approaches to reach more young women and men with family planning services in all 10 provinces of the country.
“My Ministry has over the past few years reduced what was among the highest maternal mortality in the world, from 960 to 651 per 100,000 live births between 2010 and 2015 Additionally, the neonatal mortality rate which was at 31 per 1,000 live births in 2010 went down by 6.5% to 29/1000 live births in 2015, and Under-5 mortality rate that was as 84 per 1000 live births in 2010 went down by 17.85 % to 69 per 1000 live births.
“Though this achievement is commendable, mortality of mothers and children in Zimbabwe remains a cause for concern.”
He added that traditional health attendants should focus on health awareness while the actual work is conducted by trained midwives.
He also said government is working on modalities to increase remuneration for village health workers and all front line staff.