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Social services sector records progress

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UNITED Nations Children’s Educational Fund (Unicef) representative to Zimbabwe Reza Hossaini yesterday said the social services sector in the country had recorded significant progress following the near–collapse experienced in 2009.

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But he said more work was still required to consolidate the gains made.

Hossaini told a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2014) workshop in Harare that data compiled during the survey would assist in measuring progress made towards hitting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets that are set for review next year.

“The survey findings show that things are improving. The curve is bending, and it is bending towards progress. Here are the facts – when we compare the situation in 2009, when the social services were in a state of near collapse, with 2014, the rate of change in some indicators is simply phenomenal,” he said.

According to the results, while only 37% of children were fully immunised in 2009, the rate has since increased to 92% in 2014.

Breastfeeding trends also increased during the period, with the rate jumping to 41% in 2014 from 26% in 2009.

During the same period, the percentage mark of pregnant women visiting antenatal clinics at least four times during pregnancy shot up from 57% to 70%.
The statistics also revealed that under-five mortality had declined from 94 deaths per 1000 live births in 2009 to 75 deaths in 2014.

“Behind these statistics are the faces of thousands of Zimbabwean women and children whose lives have been saved, who have been given the chance to survive, thrive and contribute to the nation’s well-being and progress,” Hossaini said.

Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency director-general Mutasa Dzinotizei said the agency had a critical role to play in the country’s development.

“We are responding to the data needs of the Government of Zimbabwe and development partners of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“The timely availability of data for development is essential to effective programme implementation.

“This data is now very current and will be used by Unicef and other development agencies and the Government of Zimbabwe to show where we are despite some of the MDGs challenge. The data is current.”

He, however, told the workshop that the main findings would be availed in the last quarter of the year with all the details on the socio–economic indicators.

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