Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) donated US$431,210 to the Ministry at a signing ceremony held at the UNICEF offices in Harare attended by senior officials from UNICEF, government and ARK.
Addressing journalists and officials who gathered at the ceremony, UNICEF country representative Peter Salama said newborn disorders is contributing to one third of the total infant mortality rate in the country while half of the total deaths happen within the first twenty four hours. He said the money would help towards the improvement of new born care corners.
“The support we receive today from Absolute Return for Kids will go a long way in ensuring that every newborn baby in Zimbabwe has a good chance of survival through access to Essential Newborn Care and Neonatal basic life support soon after birth.
“The donation is of great importance in that it will go a long way in the resuscitation of the neonatal care from the scraping of the user fees, to the training of neonatal care personnel as well as the provision of the requisite equipment,” said Salama.
Government representative from the Ministry of Health Dr Gibson Mhlanga said the donation came at a very timely moment in that it would reduce the number of mortality rate in the country.
“The birth of a child is supposed to be a cause for celebration but when we hear the news that the same child has passed on a few hours after birth it becomes miserable,” said Dr Mhlanga.
The donation, Dr Mhlanga said will be distributed to twenty selected district hospitals across the country for the procurement of equipment and training of health personnel including community health workers in other small health centres like clinics at the core of rural areas be they government or missionary owned.
The Global Systematic Analysis of National Causes of Child Mortality in 2010 reported that around 10 758 newborns die every year in Zimbabwe predominantly due to three causes which are preterm delivery 37%, asphyxia 27% and infection 19%.
ARK is owned by the Philanthropic Foundation, a private organization based in the United Kingdom and has presence in other Southern African countries including South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique among others while it also operates in India. It has since opened country offices in Zimbabwe.