Thanks to health programs like these, maternal mortality is down by almost 30 percent in the last five years. The number of children dying in their first five years is down by nearly the same amount.
But as economic instability threatens the resourcing of healthcare centres, and fuel and water shortages limit the ability to provide adequate care, more newborns are dying
Last year, under pressures of extreme inflation, healthcare workers stopped coming to work after their salaries were reduced to essentially nothing. Many hospitals weren’t functioning. Thankfully, a local philanthropist stepped in to subsidise wages through scholarships, but this support is due to expire soon and the sector remains in the dark as to the next steps from here.
In the face of these immense challenges, two things remain clear:
- Local health staff are extremely committed to the mothers and children who they serve. Health facilities continue to be vital sources of healthcare and outreach. They know what they need: better facilities, more space, and better information to share with community members who often cannot make the long trip to a clinic. Staff just need the resources to be able to provide the care they desperately want to give.
- UNICEF’s work is absolutely critical to the survival of the sector. Indicators suggest that Zimbabwe may return to the devastating lows of 2008 when hyperinflation led to the printing of the $100 trillion dollar note and a near complete collapse of the health system. Communities know the gaps they face and they’re desperate to fill them.
UNICEF is working hard to help meet these demands to provide for every mother and newborn in urgent need. Mothers and children are dying in Zimbabwe of preventable causes.
The coming years will absolutely be challenging, but there’s no doubt that the continued work of aid agencies will soften the blow otherwise felt by a country in crisis.
“A lot of gains have been made in the last years thanks to support of donors and an importantly critical role that UNICEF has played,” says Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe. “Our priority is to make sure those gains will not disappear and those very systems that we have been supporting do not collapse.”
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