By Nevson Mpofu
The United Nations Population Fund, formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, (UNFPA) is still committed to delivering a World where every pregnancy is wanted, every young person’s potential is fulfilled. In the extremity of hard effort put across world-wide. It strives to fortify on:
- zero – maternal deaths
- zero un-met need for family planning
- zero gender-based violence and harmful practices.
In Zimbabwe like in any other country, the Humanitarian organization works on core six areas where it has done a record of high-rated success.
- maternal health
- adolescent sexual reproductive health rights
- family planning
- HIV and AIDS Community engagement
- population and development
It is the United Nations’ sexual reproductive health rights agency for the past 50 years. It was formed in 1969. Like in any other country it helps improve quality of life for young people.
Zimbabwe Country Director of UNFPA, Esther Muia said: ”We strive to see a nation with young people who have access to all the services provided by UNFPA in fair inclusivity without anyone left out”.
“Thus why we stick on delivering a World where every pregnancy is wanted, every child is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled”.
The report posted early this week confirms the organization is implementing the 7th country’s program (2016 to 2020).
“We are implementing 7th program for 2016 2020. This seeks to end maternal death, un-met need for family planning, end new HIV infections, gender-based violence and harmful practices”, Muia added.
UNFPA has worked with various stake -holders and organizations like the International Conference on Population and Development.
“UNFPA is thankful to ICPD commitment 25 years since the 1994 conference that dropped success for countries in terms of human development related to issues that affect young people and even those older people who need to teach as well young people”.
“There are resolutions on improved access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights. There are commitments to the Nairobi Summit that we move on with till to the end of young people’s challenges related to sexual reproductive health and rights related to sex and sexuality”.
“This is our program of action. It recognizes reproductive health rights, Women empowerment and gender-equality. These are corner-stone of Humanitarian Development”.
UNFPA Intervention, responses and Action to Cyclone Idai
Zimbabwe could have failed to achieve gains and success if it was not for responses, interventions and action taken by UNFPA and partners, companies and some Non-Governmental Organizations and countries like USA.
“It was our role as UNFPA. We came to the rescue of girls, women following the devastating cyclone idai that hit Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.
“We responded by ensuring provision of emergency obstetric and neo-natal care in cyclone affected districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge.”
“Pregnant women were marooned and air-lifted to health facilities. We provided emergency reproductive health kits, hospital beds and auto-claves to support responses to cyclone ida’’
The report further states that there was low institutional maternal death in 2019. This is attributed to crucial investments in safe mother-hood such ad mentorship and on the job training for Doctors, mid-wives, anesthetists and other health care workers. Mid-Wives curricular was reviewed. There are 2 two major fistula camps at Chinoi Hospital and in Masvingo at Mashoko Mission Hospital in Bikita .
Total of 80,624 women have received cervical cancer screening as of 2019. There are family planning choices for women, especially young women.
“Un-met need for family planning is at 12,6% higher than the national average of 10,4%. The objective is to improve accessibility of voluntary family planning services with special focus on awareness on long acting reversible contraceptive device [IUCD] and implants as part of the family-planning mix”.
There are 200 health service providers trained on IUCD [Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device] and Implanon [NXT] There are 21,137 IUCD insertions and 131860 implant insertions made in 2019.
Capacity building towards integration has been done. There are 68 family planning providers trained on sexual gender violence and management of Sexual transmitted infections as part of Sexual Reproductive Health services package to be provided to clients seeking family-planning services.
UNFPA empower young people to engage in policy making process. It advocates for the rights of young people to information services related to Sexual Reproductive Health and sexuality. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has joined hands with the Ministry of Health and Child Care in support of UNFPA to deliver comprehensive sexuality education in schools.
There are 61,000 young women reached with social behavior change communication and trained behavior change facilitators. There are decision making platforms for young people at national, regional and global level in terms of choices in family planning. So, far 250 Junior Parliamentarians were trained in sexual reproductive health for preparation on the 10th Parliamentary session.
Tariro clinic Youth Centre in Hopley , Harare is a program for adolescent and youth development . It was officially opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2019 on 11 July to mark World Population Day. Gender Based Violence work has been done to the full capacity with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprises. It has created safe space for women and girls confronted with violence and sexual abuse. There are materials, items and prevention tools against gender-based violence against young people, girls and women.
With the population of the country at 15, 7 million, UNFPA struggles to push forward looking at everyone who counts. The disturbing forces are related to rising inflation, foreign exchange shortages, limited international support in finance, market distortions.
“This was worsened by drought of 2018 to 2019. Secondly the challenge of climate change which brought Cyclone Idai which hit Chimanimani and Chipinge in Manicaland last year”.
“In terms of the 2022 census we are integrating population issues in development planning working with ZIMSTAT, Stake-holders and Government Ministries. The 2022 census key planning was facilitated in 2019. Preparing documents for census is part of the big work to be done” she said
At least 5 million people in the country are in need of food. A third of the total population need food aid. Food Security issues must be addressed according to confirmation from World Food Program and European Union.
National disasters have increased over the past decade. At least US$ 400 million from donors is needed. The economy had grown 3,4% in 2018. It has declined to 6,5% as projected in 2020. The biggest challenge is the health sector deterioration in times of hard-ships. There is need for addition of technology, financial resources, restore health workers confidence and add morale to workers who are still threatening strikes that affect the Health sector.
Nevson Mpofu is a Lecturer in Sustainable Development, HIV and AIDS at Career Management Centre in Harare . email@example.com ..