Remarks by Deputy Health Office Director Kayt Erdahl Safe Motherhood 360+ Dissemination Meeting

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Safe Motherhood 360+ Grieveness posing with Gwenny and baby Credit Eunice Zimba
Nurse Grieveness posing with new mother Gwenny and baby Credit Eunice Zimba

Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Kennedy Malama,
Public Health Director, Dr. Andrew Silumesi,
Stanbic Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Leina Gabaraane,
Provincial Medical Directors from Eastern, Southern or Luapula Provinces,
CHAZ Executive Director, Mrs. Karen Sichinga,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the US Agency for International Development, it is my pleasure to join you for this Safe Motherhood 360+ end-of-project event. I want to begin by acknowledging the team for their hard work and commitment over the past five years to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare for mothers and children in Zambia.

Improving the health of women and children is a core priority for USAID, including a focus on reducing preventable maternal and perinatal illness and death. In partnership with the Government of the Republic of Zambia and other stakeholders, we support evidence-based, high-impact interventions that save lives and make them better, and contribute up to $13 million every year to support better health for women, newborns, and children.

We are proud of the SM360 program achievements, that CHAZ and partners reached in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in improved service delivery, supportive supervision and mentoring, community outreach and engagement, infrastructure and communication, commodity security, and monitoring and evaluation systems.

Our collective efforts contributed to marked health improvements for women and children, per the Zambia Demographic and Health Surveys 2013-2018:

  • pregnancy-related mortality dropped from 398 to 278/100,000 live births,
  • skilled attendance at birth increased from 64% to 80%,
  • newborn's first postnatal checkup in the first two days after birth increased tremendously from 15.7% to 72%

As the Safe Motherhood 360+ comes to a close, you have already heard much about achievements I recognize a few of the program’s most notable accomplishments: 

Stronger capacity and quality of services: SM360+ built the capacity of over 2,000 health care providers and community health workers who are now able to provide higher quality health services in over 450 health facilities across the country. These advances have improved outcomes for mothers and babies and helped health care providers feel more capable and confident in their ability to save mothers’ lives.  

  • Providers who received training and mentorship support from Safe Motherhood 360+ say they are now able to perform life-saving skills to prevent conditions like postpartum hemorrhage. 
  • Lasting value and impact of mentorship and supportive supervision

The program trained over 50 local leaders as change champions in target communities. You heard some of their stories during the video earlier, as they highlighted the importance of promoting good health seeking behaviors and specifically supporting women to seek skilled delivery at the heath facility.

Despite added challenges to implementation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project not only achieved but surpassed targets.

This project would not have been possible without the commitment and support from the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Health. While USAID, CHAZ and Jhpiego partnered to implement this activity, the long-term sustainability of these efforts is made possible by the deep, ongoing efforts and investment in improving lives by the Ministry of Health, the health workers, and also the volunteers.

To everyone who has engaged in or been touched by this project, to all of you who have been instrumental in the Safe Motherhood 360+ program, thank you for your commitment to improving maternal and child health care in Zambia. Thank you for saving lives.

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