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Minister of Health leads high-level visit to George clinic as part of ICPD25 and UNFPA50 celebrations in Zambia

17 April 2019
A mother attending George Community Clinic in Lusaka, supported by the MDGi project. © MDGi Zambia/Karin Schermbrucker

LUSAKA, Zambia—“To our new mothers, I would like to underscore that as a woman, you have the right to access information and services on maternal health, family planning and HIV. This is critical to saving your life and that of your baby,” said Zambia’s First Lady, Esther Lungu.

She was speaking on a high-level visit to George Clinic in Lusaka, during which mothers and their newborn babies received ‘mama packs’ containing essential health and hygiene items donated by UNFPA and Esther Lungu Foundation Trust.

When you are healthy and empowered, it secures the livelihood of your family, the progress of the community you belong to and also advances Zambia’s development.

“When you are healthy and empowered, it secures the livelihood of your family, the progress of the community you belong to and also advances Zambia’s development,” she said to the new mothers.

“My office is firmly committed to safeguarding the dignity, safety and reproductive health of all women and girls in Zambia. I wish to reaffirm my commitment to support national and community level programmes aimed at prioritizing the health and development of our mothers, sisters, daughters and nieces, as this is key towards sustainable development in Zambia as well as towards fulfilling the promise we made to secure individual dignity and human rights 25 years ago at the International Conference on Population and Development.”

Too many women die of preventable maternal causes

Far too many women still die of preventable causes, and far too few have equitable access to quality integrated health services.


Zambia's Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya and UNFPA
Representative Gift Malunga hand a 'mama pack' to a new mother.
Containing essential health and hygiene items for mothers and
newborn babies, the pack was donated by UNFPA and the First Lady
of Zambia. © UNFPA Zambia

Since 1994, Zambia has made significant progress in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health outcomes, said the Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya. “However, my Ministry is aware that far too many women still die of preventable causes, and far too few have equitable access to quality integrated health services.”

The Ministry of Health would continue to provide leadership and an enabling environment to facilitate improved health outcomes for our people, in particular for women and girls. “This is in line with the commitment Zambia made towards the implementation of the ICPD agenda, which placed human rights, including the right to sexual and reproductive health at the heart of sustainable development,” he said.

25th anniversary of ICPD

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which changed how the world thinks about population, development and reproductive rights. The ICPD underscored that investing in individual human rights, capabilities and dignity, across multiple sectors and throughout the life course, is the foundation of sustainable development.

To mark the achievements and progress made to date in advancing implementation of the ICPD agenda and its important contribution to accelerating achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ms. Lungu, represented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilfya, undertook the visit to George Clinic, in conjunction with the European Union and the UN Country Team. The outreach also formed part of a series of events to commemorate UNFPA’s 50th anniversary.

UNFPA Representative Gift Malunga said the ICPD underscored that investing in individual human rights and capabilities is the foundation of sustainable development. “It specifically promotes the rights for individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health as a cornerstone to development,” she said.

UNFPA reaffirms its commitment to ensuring a Zambia where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

“It is for this reason that UNFPA and other UN agencies, development partners and stakeholders have over the last 25 years sustained support to the Government of Zambia to provide information and services that enable women and girls to make informed choices about their lives.” 

She commended the First Lady for her active role in ensuring that women and adolescent girls have access to services and information and stay safe from child marriage, teenage pregnancy, sexual and gender-based violence and HIV. She also acknowledged the leadership of the Minister of Health, whose stewardship the country had continued to score gains in reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health.

“UNFPA reaffirms its commitment to ensuring a Zambia where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” she said.

Improving access to quality health care

Zambia has received €50 million – more than 700 Million Kwacha – through the European Union’s MDGi programme on Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition. More than 4 million Kwacha of this programme was invested in the George Health Centre to improve access to and quality of health care in Lusaka district.

The European Union commended the government’s dedication to improve reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health in Zambia. “We are committed to working in close partnership with the Zambian Government, Zambian civil society and with other cooperating partners to improve equitable access to quality and inclusive health care for the people of Zambia,” said EU Ambassador Alessandro Mariani Ambassador.

He congratulated UNFPA on its 50th anniversary: “We hope to see the continued combined political and financial support for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as the implementation of the agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development.”