By ANNIE ZULU
THE United Kingdom (UK) has reinstated health funding to Zambia in recognition of the financial reforms that have been put in place and expressed concern over the reduced funding to the health sector especially in rural areas.
British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet announced yesterday the resumption of funding to the health sector during the Ministry of Health Annual Consultant Meeting held at Lusaka’s Intercontinental Hotel.
“We are pleased that we are now resuming our support but also this is a concern to the UK and I think to other cooperating partners around traditional risks of giving funding directly to government. This resumption of systems follows the suspension of funds which we communicated to the Ministry earlier last year,” he said
And Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya who officiated at the event, disclosed that than 10 pregnant mothers died every week in Zambia ranking the country among those with the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Dr Chilufya said inadequate human resources in the health sector had largely contributed to the high maternal mortality rate in Zambia.
He said it was regrettable that more than10 lives of pregnant women were lost every week in the country.
The Minister called for a stronger partnership between Government and the donors to reduce the maternal mortality rate.
“Maternal mortality rate still remains high in Zambia and one of the major reasons is that there is no enough human resource in the health sector, but we want to reduce it. Government under the leadership of President Edgar Lungu is determined to improve man power in health facilities and has so far recruited over 17,000 health workers out of the targeted 30,000 by 2021.
“There is need for a strong partnership between Government and the donors to increase the number of health workers in order to reduce maternal mortality in Zambia,” he said.
Dr Chilufya assured cooperating partners of transparency and prudent utilization of resources allocated to the health sector as the ministry worked to attain universal health coverage for all.
And representing the cooperating partners, Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Henrik Cederin pledged continued support to the health sector.
Mr Cederin said it was regrettable that lives had continued to be lost during pregnancy and birth.
He also praised Government for its efforts to health services to the people as close as possible.
“The cooperating partners call for more, better quicker action to reverse the high numbers of maternal mortality rate.
“We remain fully dedicated to supporting the Government’s efforts to further enhance sector performance and improve the health of the Zambian people,” he said.