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UNFPA commends Zambia on health study

CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has commended the Zambian Government for including a module on obstetric fistula for the first time in the history of Zambia’s Demographic Health Survey.
However, UNFPA has bemoaned the high number of girls getting pregnant and having children between ages of 15 and 19.  The UN agency says Government should collaborate with the organisation to effectively support and promote sexual reproductive health among young people.
According to the 2013/2014 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS), 29 percent of girls aged 15 and 19 are already mothers or pregnant with their first child.
According to a statement issued recently, UNFPA Zambia representative Mary Otieno said from the ZDHS 2013/14 report, there is need to collaborate with Government.
“The UNFPA Zambia’s sustained commitment need to collaborate with Government to enhance intensified efforts and mobilise dedicated and effective support to promote sexual reproductive health and rights of women and young people – in line with commitments of UN member countries at the 20-year review of the International Conference on Population and Development,” she said.
The ZDHS report also shows that 45 percent of girls are married by the age 18 as compared to 5 percent of boys; 43 percent of women have experienced physical violence since age 15 and two out of three women report having at least one problem in accessing healthcare for themselves; while 37 percent of women are concerned about the distance to the health facility.
However, the country has recorded a 98 percent increase in family planning use and a 54 percent drop in maternal mortality during Millennium Development Goals (MDG) period.
Dr Otieno said more women in the country are able to decide if, when and how often to have children as contraceptive prevalence rate has increased by a remarkable 98 percent.



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