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Zim receives US$1,5m health boost from France

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THE French government has donated US$2,5 million towards the Covax facility ahead of the World Health Day on April 8, 2023.

The Covax facility is a programme to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country.

In a statement yesterday, Unicef said after a visit to Harare by French Ambassador Laurent Chevallier and French regional counsellor for global health in Southern Africa, Thomas Mourez, the French government donated US$2,5 million towards the Covax facility, which will strengthen routine immunisation and the integration of COVID-19 vaccination into routine vaccination programmes.

The fund will also assist combat maternal mortality.

“A Zimbabwe health indicator has shown some progress. According to the 2022 Population Census, maternal mortality dropped from 462 per 100 000 live births in 2019 to 363 per 100 000 live births in 2022. Under-five mortality declined from 65 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2019 to 40 in 2022.

“Since 2010, the number of children suffering from chronic malnutrition has been reduced from nearly one child out of three to less than one child out of four. But the neonatal mortality rate remains a challenge. It stands at 32 deaths per 1 000 live births, above the 12 per 1,000 live births set forward for the 2030 target of sustainable development goals.

“Immunization, together with Vitamin A supplementation, is one of the most cost-effective childhood health interventions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and like other countries, routine immunization and supplementation coverage rates dropped. At the same time, steady progress has been made in COVID-19 vaccination rates in Zimbabwe, which serves as a great opportunity to strengthen routine vaccination and Vitamin A supplementation.”

The French government is the third donor for the Covax facility.

Unicef said Mourez held several meetings with government officials and health stakeholders to understand the situation in the country and acknowledge progress made in the sector.

Other issues discussed included challenges impacting the health of children, adolescents and women.

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