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On 24 June 2022, UNFPA, as part of the UN family in Zambia, was pleased to join the Government and the people of the Republic of Zambia in commemorating the 2022 Safe Motherhood Week under the theme "Deliver at a Health facility: with qualified health personnel" ; as well as the 2022 first round of the Child Health Week under the theme, “Investing in Childrens Health, Securing Zambias Future”.

Both themes underscored the critical role of health systems strengthening in accelerating progress towards the health related Sustainable Development Goals, as well as Zambia’s attainment of its Vision 2030 of becoming a prosperous middle-income country.

In a statement delivered on his behalf, Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba speaking people in Northern Province urged other traditional leaders to develop by-laws that will reduce home deliveries among expectant mothers, especially in remote rural areas. He noted that it is important for all pregnant women to deliver at health facilities where there are skilled attendants and appropriate equipment.

The Paramount Chief said the by-laws, coupled with other measures such as access to family planning and ante-natal and post-natal care, can help reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in the country.

And Northern Province Minister, Mr. Leonard Mbao, who officiated at the joint commemoration, emphasized the need for enhanced provision of quality maternal, newborn and child health services. He added that the Government of the Republic of Zambia has made notable progress towards achieving universal health coverage, and continues to partner with stakeholders to address existing challenges.

Speaking on behalf of the UNFPA Representative, Ms. Gift Malunga, UNFPA Fistula Analyst Ms Jenifer Mijere highlighted that the United Nations in Zambia acknowledges the key milestones achieved by the Government of Zambia towards universal health coverage, particularly ensuring women, newborns, and children have access to quality essential health care as basic human rights.

“There is need for enhanced and concerted efforts to ensure that no woman dies while giving birth” she said, while handing over dignity kits and mama packs to the Northern Province Minister, donated by UNFPA and WHO. The dignity kits and mama packs contain essential items required for ante-natal care and by post-natal mothers and their newborn babies.