United States and Population Services Zimbabwe advance health for mothers and babies

Harare, 14 November, 2017 – Today at the Meikles Hotel in Harare, the United States and non-governmental organization Population Services Zimbabwe (PSZ) celebrated five years of improving access to voluntary family planning information and services to poor and underserved populations in Zimbabwe. Through the Improving Family Planning Services (IFPS) activity, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), PSZ reached over 650,000 Zimbabweans with comprehensive, voluntary family planning services, averting 814 maternal deaths and 3,800 child deaths.

USAID Zimbabwe Acting Deputy Mission Director Julie Nenon stated: “The United States is proud to increase the availability of diverse family planning options for Zimbabweans. Enabling couples and individuals to determine whether, when, and how often to have children is vital to safe motherhood, healthy families, and prosperous communities.”

Through USAID’s IFPS activity, PSZ provided voluntary family planning information and services at 1,200 mobile outreach sites in all 10 provinces to reach poor and underserved women and men in rural and hard to reach areas. PSZ also supported a network of 50 social franchise clinics as part of the BlueStar Healthcare Network, partnering with existing private health providers to deliver high quality family planning services. To increase knowledge of family planning methods and dispel myths and misconceptions, PSZ conducted health education campaigns to provide individuals with accurate, understandable, and usable information about family planning.

The activity also improved access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health information and services for people living with disabilities, particularly those with physical, speech, hearing, and visual impairments. In doing so, PSZ strengthened the capacity of Zimbabwean health care workers to provide sexual and reproductive health information, counseling, and services for people living with disabilities.

PSZ Country Director and Chief of Party Abebe Shibru said: “We extend our sincere appreciation to the USAID mission in Zimbabwe. USAID’s financial and technical support has helped us to provide a range of family planning methods to over half a million women and men in hard to reach and undeserved areas. We are determined to build on the legacy created by the IFPS activity by continuing to expand access to family planning and giving women and girls the freedom to pursue their dreams and ambitions and take ownership of their future.”

Worldwide, almost 885 million women intend to prevent or delay pregnancy, and about three-quarters of these women are currently using a modern contraceptive method. Yet, more than 214 million women still have an unmet need for family planning. When a woman has children too closely together, too early or too late in life, the health of the mother and baby are at risk. Greater access to family planning information and services can help reduce maternal deaths by 30 percent annually and save the lives of 1.4 million children under the age of 5 each year.

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For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have contributed over $3 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe.  Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote a more democratic system of governance. 

For additional information, please contact:

U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer David J. McGuire at HararePAS@state.gov

Population Services Zimbabwe Communications Manager: Mr. Fredius Dzumbunu at fredius.dzumbunu@pszim.com