14 November 2012

Zambia: Nation On Course to Attain MDGs - Uhaa

UNICEF Country Representative Iyorlumun Uhaa says Zambia is on course to attain the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number four on reducing child mortality rate by 2015.

Mr Uhaa said it was impressive that Zambia was among six countries in Southern Africa likely to reduce child mortality by 2015 but that the country was unlikely to attain MDGs number one and five on reducing poverty and maternal mortality.

He was speaking when he and European Union (EU) Head of Delegation to Zambia and the Common Market for East and Central Africa Gilles Hervio paid a courtesy call on Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Stanford Mschili yesterday.

"Where I come from pregnancy is not a disease. In fact in my village when a woman is pregnant it's a source of celebration but unfortunately child birth in some instances has become a source of death," he lamented.

He thus summed up Zambia's chances of attaining the MDGs as a "mixed bag" given that the country is on course with some like reducing child mortality, provision of safe water to drink and environment while still lagging behind in others.

The EU delegation was on the Copperbelt for an on the spot check on facilities that will be part of the 44 euros (about K26 billion) project spanning 10 districts in Lusaka and on the Copperbelt aimed at improving maternal and child mortality.

Mr Hervio said Copperbelt and Lusaka were chosen for the EU project because the two regions are the most populated where it was though wise to supplement Government efforts in improving the lives of mothers and their children.

"We had an idea of what to expect but still decided to come here and do a survey by hearing out the population. We have to interview the population so that we have an idea of what really needs to be done for them," he said.

Mr Msichili said the visit of a high profile delegation to the Copperbelt could not have come at a better time than now when the region needed to double efforts if the country is to attain the MDGs.

Mr Mschili said it was saddening that mothers and children have continued dying of preventable and curable diseases and expressed hope that the EU intervention would accelerate the delivery of better health care.

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