Maternal deaths still ‘unacceptably high’

Source: Maternal deaths still ‘unacceptably high’ – The Standard

Zimbabwe has a lot to do in alleviating maternal health problems whose death rate stands at 363 per 100 000 live births, an official has said.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) programme specialist — reproductive health — Edwin Mpeta said although maternal mortality has been reduced from 960 to 363 deaths per 100 000 live births, the rate is still unacceptably high.


“A lot also needs to be done on pregnant women as we have a target to go down from 363 maternal deaths to at least 70 deaths per 100 000 live births,” Mpeta said during a briefing on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) last week.

He said the country has, however, done well on its national family planning programme.

“We require about US$7 million worth of contraceptives and we need more on domestic financing,” Mpeta said.


“We need more investment in terms of domestic financing for contraceptives and family planning.”

In her 2023 annual report, UNFPA country representative Miranda Tabifor commended the government for its efforts in addressing maternal health issues.

“As the country continues to progress towards ending the unmet need for family planning, UNFPA commends the government of Zimbabwe’s significant domestic investment in procuring contraceptives for a second consecutive year,” Tabifor said.

“This increasing commitment to domestic funding contributes to strengthening the national health system and complements UNFPA’s and funding partners’ contributions towards reducing the unmet need for family planning.”


She said significant results and milestones were achieved in 2023.

Tabifor said highlights include supporting the government to host high-level events — the 20th International Inter-Ministerial Conference on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Population and Development in Victoria Falls in October 2023.

“This conference was a major milestone as it was one of the series of global consultations leading to the 30th anniversary of the ICPD that will be officially commemorated in New York in April 2024,” she said.