The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA supports national governments to expand the opportunities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.

In Zambia, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is implementing its 8th Country Programme of Cooperation (2016-2020) with the Government of Zambia and key civil society organizations. Its aim is "to contribute to poverty eradication by strengthening reproductive health services and enhancing Governments' capacity to implement a multi-sectoral population programme". The Programme is aligned with Zambia's revised Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework (UNSDPF) 2016-2021.

Since 2011, the 7th Country Program has been supporting policy and programme interventions at national level and in 14 districts across 6 Provinces - including Luapula, North-Western and Western as UNFPA focus Provinces.

Supported with over US$29 million, the Country Programe ensures that:
every pregnancy is wanted by providing quality and accessible information and choice of modern contraceptives to women and men at service delivery points, alongside enabling policy frameworks and effective programme capacities; every childbirth is safe through strengthened midwifery workforce quantity and quality through training of midwives; improved availability of maternal health life-saving medicines and equipment to avert maternal morbidity and deaths; as well as enabling institutional and technical capacities to deliver equitable and quality Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, fistula prevention and treatment, as well as quality of care interventions; and every young person's potential is fulfilled by equipping them with knowledge, skills and values that enable them to develop a positive attitude of their sexuality and linking them to quality  and equitable services, as well as building their capacity to participate in national development processes.


In line with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, UNFPA affirms that every individual has the right to access and make their own choices about their sexual and reproductive health. UNFPA works toward the goal of achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health, promote reproductive rights, reduce maternal mortality, and accelerate progress on the ICPD agenda and MDG 5 (A & B).

In Zambia, significant progress has been recorded in sexual and reproductive health during the past 15 years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This progress is mirrored by a decline in maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from 729 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2001/2002 to 398 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013/2014 - reflecting a 54% decline. This progress is significant for the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) beyond 2014 Programme of Action, and the emergence of the Sustainable Development Goals in the post 2015 era.

Working together with Government and civil society organizations, UNFPA Zambia supports women to enjoy the right to give birth safely with support from skilled birth attendants, to decide freely the number and spacing of their children, and to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Specific interventions to advance women's reproductive health include:

  • Ensuring women have adequate access to quality family planning information and services to help them plan the number and frequency of pregnancies they want to have.
  • Making quality reproductive health commodities available to women and men, including condoms and modern contraceptives.
  • Facilitating the presence of trained midwives in every health center to reduce maternal and child mortality resulting from birth complications.
  • Ensuring that health personnel have the necessary skills and equipment to enable them manage emergency complications during child birth, which may threaten the survival of the mother and child.
  • Prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula, which is an abnormal opening in the birth canal caused by prolonged, obstructed labour due to the lack of timely and adequate medical care
  • Prevention of HIV among women and young people through strengthening condom programming; building capacity for demand generation for condoms including through the CONDOMIZE! Campaign; and
  • Reducing barriers that limit delivery of integrated SRH, HIV and GBV services through the SRH/HIV/GBV Linkages Project.


To ensure young peoples' potential is fulfilled as they transition from childhood to adulthood, UNFPA works with young people and partners with other UN Agencies, civil society organizations and the Government to support design, delivery and monitoring of comprehensive policies and programs that address young people's development challenges.  In line with relevant international standards that protect the rights of adolescents and youth, UNFPA contributes to the advancement of adolescents and youth through five strategic prongs:

  • Enabling evidence-based advocacy for comprehensive policy and program development, investment and implementation.
  • Promoting comprehensive sexuality education for in and out of school adolescents and youth.
  • Improving access to and provision of effective sexual and reproductive health and HIV services for young people.
  • Taking bold initiatives to reach marginalized and disadvantaged adolescents - particularly girls. This includes reaching girls affected and at risk of child marriage and adolescent pregnancy.
  • Promoting youth leadership and participation, which is critical for meaningful and sustainable development. Successful passage through adulthood requires that young people have opportunities and ability to express their views to decision makers.


In line with the 1994 Programme of Action (PoA) of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and the Beijing Platform of Action, UNFPA recognizes that "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being"; including the right to "exercise control over and make decisions about one's sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence".

UNFPA in Zambia recognizes the manifestations of unfulfilled sexual and reproductive rights especially for women and girls, which are mainly fueled by gender discrimination and violence between men and women.
For this reason, UNFPA seeks to mainstream gender into its programme's, including addressing gender-based violence, and promoting reproductive rights for women and girls through policies and programmes.


Population trends - including fertility, mortality, migration, growth rates and age structure - play a critical role in sustainable national development and must therefore be factored into programme planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; as well as in policy formulation, policy dialogues, resource allocation and decision making processes.

UNFPA Zambia provides both technical and financial support to the Government of Zambia - particularly the Central Statistics Office to strengthen national capacity to generate, analyze and utilize disaggregated statistical data and evidence on population, in order to inform national development processes.