MWAPE MWENYA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT says the National Health Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2021 has set ambitious and attainable key performance indicators of reducing under-five and neonatal mortality rates.
Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said Government is committed to improving child survival in line with global commitments to which Zambia is a signatory.
“The under-five mortality rate is expected to drop from the current 75 per 1,000 live births to 35 per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality rates will reduce from 45 per 1,000 live births to 15 per 1,000 live births, neonatal mortality rate from 24 per 1,000 live births to less than 12 per 1,000 live births. This is possible by 2021,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said this yesterday in a speech read on his behalf by Ministry of Health permanent secretary Jabbin Mulwanda during the launch of the national essential newborn care training manuals and newborn protocols.
Dr Chilufya said effective implementation of the training manuals will contribute to Government’s objective of training and making available competent and increased human resource personnel.
And Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) chief executive officer Izukanji Sikazwe said Zambia has seen a reduction in under-five mortality compared to neonatal mortality rates.
“Many families suffer pregnancy-related deaths. The guidelines that have been launched are designed to provide skills required to reduce neonatal mortality which occurs due to birth-asphyxia, neonatal sepsis, and other birth related complications,” Dr Sikazwe said.
Dr Sikazwe said CIDRZ will continue supporting Government in reducing neonatal mortality through trainings and provision of medical supplies.
Meanwhile World Health Organisation country representative Custodia Mandlhate said majority of neonatal deaths are preventable despite 73 percent of incidences occurring within seven days of birth.
Dr Mandlhate said evidence has proved that the survival of a newborn happens side by side with maternal survival.
“Putting in place interventions that promote and support maternal survival are cardinal in improving newborn survival. The challenge remains in scaling up effective interventions and improving quality services provided women in labour and newborns,” Dr Mandlhate said.