-USD 35 million earmarked for maternal and infant health

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USD 35 million earmarked for maternal and infant health

Katete, June 5, 2013, ZANIS….The World Bank intends to spend over USD35 Million to improve maternal and infant health in all the districts of Zambia.

World Bank Country Director Kundhavi Kadirresan said when she inspected the implementation of Result Based Financing World Bank funded programmes in Katete district that there was need to enhance efforts aimed at improving maternal and infant health in the country.

Dr Kadirresan said that the World Bank was in consultation with the government to develop the programme for the health sector.

She said the project which was at design stage, would be launched within a year.

She disclosed that USD17Million was spent on Result Based Finance projects in 30 districts in the country.

Dr Kadiresan noted that the three year project which was piloted in Katete district had seen an improvement of health care service delivery as it motivated health care workers and encouraged members of the public to deliver in health facilities as opposed to homes.

She said the implementation of the programme in Katete district provided lessons to her organization which also saw the need to scale it up to other parts of the country.

“We were impressed with quality of health service that is being delivered and how the pilot is motivating health workers to put in more, it also gives the flexibility to buy required equipment such as lab equipment, and uplift the faces of the clinics through rehabilitation as recommended by communities,” She said.

She said the decentralized approach where the members of the community and the clinic staff made decisions on what should be done to improve the quality of health care service delivery was a good approach as it also focused on results.

She said that the decentralized approach also provided a sense of ownership of programmes in the community who appreciated such developments.

And Katete boma clinic sister in-charge Juliana Phiri said the Result Based Finance had enabled a number of improvements to be done at the clinic.

Ms Phiri said that the clinic had also recorded an improvement in the number of women who deliver at the health facility and those seeking other health services.

She noted that Traditional Health Attendant (TBAs) were also encouraged to take expectant women to the clinic as opposed to helping them deliver at home.

Ms Phiri also stated that the health staff was also motivated because they were allowed to share 75 percent of the grant as bonuses depending on their performance.

She said the liberty to procure required equipment for the clinic also motivated the health workers.

Earlier, when she toured the COMBO malaria response project in Gandale village in chief Kawaza’s area, Dr Kadiresan said there was need to ensure correct use of Mosquito Treated Nets (ITNs) in order to sustain the fight against malaria.

And Ganndale COMBO Chairperson James Banda said the over KR39,000 world bank funding had helped residents put up measures to fight malaria and procure tools and equipment to clean the surrounding areas that were breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

He also noted that the organization provided 400 ITNs for distribution to the population of 1,450 in the area.

And Eastern Province Medical Officer Kennedy Malama observed that the province had recorded an improvement in malaria incidences because it was taking a number of strategies among them the distribution of ITNs and indoor residual spraying.

Dr Malama also noted that the province had continued to promote programmes that encouraged expectant women to seek services from qualified staff at health care facilities adding that 99 per cent of them were now delivering in health centres.

Dr Malama noted that the province which had the highest malaria incidences in Zambia had also been receiving support towards malaria response from the World Bank.