Harare (New Ziana)– China on Thursday handed over medical equipment and sundries to Zimbabwe as part of its US$1.24 million support pledge for victims of a devastating cyclone in the east of the country two years ago.
The support, for victims of Cyclone Idai, primarily targets reducing maternal mortality in the affected areas.
The donation was made through UNFPA Zimbabwe, which is working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to ensure targeted communities benefit.
Zimbabwe is battling to reduce the number of women who die during child-birth, with the number estimated at 462 per every 100 000 live births.
The overall aim of the project, which commenced in 2020, is to cut maternal morbidity and mortality by 20 percent in the targeted districts.
Accepting the support, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro said the benefits of the support, which the country has been receiving since Cyclone Idai struck, were already being felt in targeted districts such as Chimanimani and Chipinge through reduction in maternal deaths.
“This support will result in the provision of health services to our mothers and at the same time reduce mortality which is still unacceptably high,” Dr Mangwiro said, in a speech read on his behalf.
“The support is paying dividends already as the number of maternal mortality cases has been reduced by 46 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.”
Dr Mangwiro, and UNFPA Zimbabwe’s country representative, Dr Esther Muia lauded China for continuing to stand by Zimbabwe in enhancing access to health services especially for women and girls.
“Through this project, UNFPA Zimbabwe with funding from the Government of China procured and distributed reproductive health and medical equipment and medicines to health facilities in cyclone affected districts to enhance their capacity to provide emergency care services for pregnant women and new born babies,” Dr Muia said.
She said maternity homes in the affected districts were undergoing rehabilitation “to ensure pregnant women who live far from hospitals or have high risk pregnancies can be accommodated comfortably close to these facilities as they near their day of delivery.”
Dr Muia said a Chinese firm, Ansun Angel Management Group had donated 342 930 sanitary pads to be distributed to young women and girls.
“This translates to six months supply of pads to over 2 000 women and girls,” she said.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun said assistance had been extended under the South-South Assistance Fund and was testimony to the tight relations and partnership among China, UNFPA Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean government.
“As a responsible member of the international society and all weather friend of Zimbabwe, China has been doing its best to provide all kinds of assistance to Zimbabwe in human rights, health care and infrastructure construction,” he said.
Post Cyclone Idai, he said, China was also assisting Zimbabwe in the fight against Covid-19, with among others, donation of 400 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.