In Partnership with the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, the Government of Japan has signed a US$ 1,3 million grant to finance a project that will help save the lives of pregnant women in Zimbabwe, with particular reference to maternal health in the face of the Covid19 pandemic.

Tagged “Strengthening Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care in COVID-19 Hotspots in Zimbabwe”, Japan seeks to provide support to improve the provision of maternal health care services within the context of COVID-19 through the project while specifically working to strengthen the referral system and ensure the continuity of assisted delivery care in the provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.

For a project estimated to reach 60,000 women, the support to be financed includes the procurement of medical equipment and expendable supplies to manage obstetric emergencies and prevent and control infection, including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). Part of what was envisioned also includes the procurement of ambulances to strengthen emergency care and response, while the training of maternity care providers in emergency obstetric care and management of COVID-19 during pregnancy will feature also as a key part of the project.

Explaining the intervention, the Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, Mr. Satoshi Tanaka, said:

“During a crisis, it is often women and children who suffer the most. Japan decided to provide this support to help ensure that maternity services are prioritized, and mothers and new-born babies receive the care that they deserve”

Meanwhile, the UNFPA Zimbabwe Country Representative, Dr. Esther Muia, appreciated the Government of Japan for the support and noted that it is going to help increase the resilience of the healthcare system.

“This project aims to reverse the negative tide in maternal and perinatal outcomes, and increase the resilience of the health system in Harare and Bulawayo to cope with the impact of COVID-19,” she said.