We firmly decided to focus on women and children by aggressively expanding the delivery of comprehensive and integrated services… women and children were placed at the center of the sixth national development plan. This was a paradigm shift.
— Dr. Joseph Kasonde,
Minister of Health of Zambia
Zambia is one of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. These concerns – heightened by the country’s challenges with endemic malaria, high rates of unsafe abortions, and a weakened health system due to international structural adjustment policies – present diverse challenges that warrant unified and direct responses. With an astute focus on the social determinants of health through advances in both education and health policy, however, Zambia continues to move forward in addressing these needs within its most vulnerable communities.
The Resolve Award
The Resolve Award celebrates country-level, public sector leadership in driving innovations in reproductive health policy development, service delivery, and financing mechanisms. The Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC) recognizes national governments for their leadership and for serving as the hub around which civil society, the private sector, donors, and so many others engage.
The GLC celebrated the Zambian government with the 2012 Resolve Award for service delivery. This award recognizes Zambia’s efforts to ensure that all people have access to primary and reproductive health services, and to provide those services in a convenient, integrated way. This integrated service delivery is part of a larger restructuring and strengthening of health services throughout the country.
A decade ago, Zambia’s rates of HIV/AIDS and maternal and child mortality were among the world’s highest, and access to family planning and reproductive health care was limited. Over the last decade, the Zambian government increased spending on primary and reproductive health by 50%. Today, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and maternal and child health services are offered free of charge in the public sector. The government is also constructing 650 new rural health posts, to facilitate integrated service delivery.
In the decade since Zambia adopted the new approach:
•Contraceptive use increased from 15% to 41%
•More than three quarters of pregnant women living with HIV have been provided with anti-retroviral drugs and counseling to prevent transmission
•Maternal mortality has declined by 40%