Maputo — Mozambique's First Lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, declared on Friday that reducing the rates of infant and maternal mortality is a challenge that figures among the priorities for her office.
She was speaking at a fund-raising lunch in Denver, in the US state of Colorado, attended by about 2,000 businessmen and organized by the Commission for Urgent Relief and Equipment (CURE).
Founded 25 years ago, CURE provides hospital equipment for developing countries. It holds a First Ladies Luncheon every year, and Guebuza was the guest of honour at this year's event. CURE says that the purpose of these events is to "learn about the First Lady's key healthcare issues and raise funding to deliver life-saving medical supplies and equipment to the most deserving hospitals and clinics throughout her country".
Guests in previous years have included the First Ladies of Ghana, Tanzania, Mongolia, Panama and Mexico. CURE says that the previous seven First Ladies Luncheons raised 12 million US dollars.
Guebuza thanked CURE for its offer of equipment, which will be delivered to health units in the central provinces of Zambezia, Tete and Sofala, and in Maputo. The equipment, she believed, will make it possible to deliver better quality health care. Timely investments in hospital equipment would certainly improve the Mozambican health services, she said.
Guebuza stressed the great advances made by the Mozambican health system since the end of the war of destabilisation in 1992. The number of health units has risen from 750 in 1992 to 1,400 in 2011. The proportion of the population covered by the health service has risen from 40 to 60 per cent.
When properly equipped, she said, hospitals can respond to the needs of patients and reduce child and maternal mortality rates. This was a battle that she intended to help win.
"Day and night, we are concerned to save the lives of those who are still in their mother's wombs", she added, "We are sure that if we guarantee a healthy life to each Mozambican, we will be on the right path to building and developing human capital".
Her visit to the United States, Guebuza said, was important not only for the consignment of medical equipment, but because it laid the foundations for future cooperation in the training of health staff.