News

Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safer with Upgraded Maternity Wings

14 November 2017
A trained midwife attends to an expecting mother at the newly upgraded maternity wing at George Clinic in Lusaka. Credit: UNFPA Zambia/2017

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA, have officially handed over four upgraded maternity wings worth 10.5 million kwacha (US$ 1.5 million) at George and Ngwerere Clinics in Lusaka Province; as well as at Kaniki and Buchi Clinics in Copperbelt Province. The maternity wings were upgraded with funding from the European Union, as part of the Millennium Development Goal initiative (MDGi). The upgraded facilities - which included refurbishment, medical equipment and supplies, as well as training of staff - are aimed at providing quality health care for mothers and children.

Speaking at the handover ceremonies, Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, underscored Governments' commitment towards securing the health of mothers, newborns and children in Zambia.

“Over the past two decades, Zambia has significantly reduced the rates of maternal and child mortality. As a Ministry, we are proud of this progress, resulting from prioritized public health interventions by the Government of the Republic of Zambia. With sustained support from our national and international partners such as the European Union and the United Nations, I am confident that we can further improve maternal and child health indicators, towards the 2021 national targets of reducing maternal mortality rates from the current 398 to less than 100 per 100,000 live births; and under 5 mortality rates from the current 75 to 35 per 100,000 live births" Dr. Chitalu said.

Also speaking at the handover ceremonies, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Zambia and COMESA, Mr. Gianluca Azzoni, reaffirmed the European Union’s commitment towards supporting Governments' efforts aimed at securing health and wellbeing for all, especially for vulnerable women and children.

"We commend the Government of Zambia for prioritizing investments aimed at reducing maternal, neonatal and child mortality in Zambia; and are pleased that the MDGi is a comprehensive multi-sectoral programme covering the whole continuum of care from reproductive health, pregnancy, delivery, postnatal care, child-health and nutrition.  I also wish to reaffirm the EU's commitment to work jointly with the Government of Zambia and partners, towards the delivery of high impact health services that will improve the health of women, adolescents and children" Mr. Azzoni said.

The MDGi aims to accelerate the reduction of maternal, neonatal and child mortality in Zambia, targeting 11 districts of Copperbelt and Lusaka Provinces. The programme is funded by the European Union (EU) with a total investment of 48.6 Million Euro (533.5 million kwacha) over a period of 5 years (2013-2018); and implemented by the Ministry of Health with technical support from UNICEF and UNFPA. Key results so far achieved include the reconstruction/rehabilitation of health facilities; capacity building of community volunteers in safe motherhood and early childhood development; as well as capacity building of health workers in provision of family planning and emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) among others. 

A mother from Chongwe district in Lusaka (L) explains to Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya (R) how the newly upgraded Ngwerere Clinic has facilitated outreach services that have equipped hundreds of mothers like her with information on safe motherhood and early childhood and nutrition. 

Making pregnancy and childbirth safer is a human rights imperative. All 5 major direct causes of maternal death – hemorrhage, sepsis, hypertensive disorders, obstructed labour and unsafe abortion - can be treated at a well-equipped health facility, coupled with trained staff, such as the ones being upgraded by the MDGi Project. With such facilities, we can make pregnancy and childbirth safer, and ultimately reduce maternal and child mortality - UNFPA Representative, Dr. Mary Otieno

These new facilities, equipment, and trained staff are all aimed at improving access to health services for women and children in target districts. Clients using the facilities will notice a higher standard of treatment and care, which will ultimately save the lives of mothers and children in these localities. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to enure that women and children enjoy good quality health care - UNICEF Representative, Ms. Noala Skinner