THE US Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated five 4×4 vehicles to the Ministry of Health with the goal of supporting increased capacity of the ministry to provide maternal and child health services in Southern, Muchinga, Eastern, Northern, and Luapula provinces.
According to a statement, the vehicles would help the ministry access hard-to-reach and underserved areas, and provide support where inadequate transportation remains a barrier to providing quality health care services.
The vehicles were part of the USAID Maternal and Child Survival Programme (MCSP), which culminated in March 2019. MCSP provided reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health, and nutrition policy and governance support to the ministry, while building the capacity of health care providers in service delivery and improving infrastructure.
“The donation of the project’s vehicles to the Ministry of Health will help bridge this gap, and will facilitate sustained administration, supervision, and monitoring of maternal and child activities,” said Dr Masuka Musumali, USAID’s acting family health division chief.
The US government provides $26 million annually to strengthen women’s health service integration, increase the number of babies delivered in health facilities, and improve the quality of care for mothers and their children.
It stated that due in large part to this assistance, the maternal mortality rate has decreased from 398 to 278 per 100,000 live births, and under-five child mortality has dropped from 7.5 per cent to 6.1 per cent of live births, according to the 2018 Zambian Demographic Health Survey.
“The US government values its continued close partnership with the Zambian government to achieve even greater progress towards improving maternal and child health,” according to the statement.