We've Kept On Going Print

Highlights of an interview by Christian Connections for International Health with Ms. Vuyelwa Chitimbire, Executive Director, Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals (ZACH)

CCIH: How many health institutions are members of ZACH? 

Ms Chitimbire: A total of 126. That includes 60 hospitals, both Catholic and Protestant, plus 66 smaller institutions -- clinics, dispensaries, & health centers.

CCIH: Can you tell us briefly about the history of family planning in Zimbabwe? 

Ms Chitimbire: Since the 1980s, the Zimbabwe Family Planning Council has included public, private, and church-related groups. In 1982, our programs began to integrate family planning, reproductive health, and human sexuality. The contraceptive methods initially included Depo-Provera and pills, then added Norplant, but not many condoms. Later programs emphasized capacity building, included pregnancy care, sexually transmitted infections, and contraceptives -- through both urban and rural outlets. After that came emphasis on gender, HIV, antenatal care, and post-natal care.

Now the Family Planning National Program has expanded and is performing very well. It includes all service delivery points in both government and the private sector, and it addresses all aspects of reproductive health, HIV and AIDS. ZACH is a major stakeholder and is implementing all protocols based on national strategy. The country has embarked on a massive campaign, targeting men for condom use.

CCIH: Over these many years, has there been any really low point for family planning in Zimbabwe?

Ms Chitimbire: No, we’ve kept on going.

CCIH: Where does ZACH get funding?

Ms Chitimbire: Our current general funding comes from churches overseas, a German Evangelical organization, and ICCO (Netherlands). Other funds come from international partners, the MOHCW, and the Global Fund. Currently all family planning programs are funded through the MOHCW, with ZACH providing gap funding where needed. 

CCIH: What are the current FP/RH programs of ZACH?

Ms Chitimbire: 

  • Women’s care – pregnancy care, preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child, and post-partum care, PAP smears
  • Rape – working with the police, especially concerning children under age10
  • Youth Friendly initiative for access to services, especially reproductive health
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Condom distribution
  • Ongoing family planning services
  • Youth In and Out of School         

Ms Chitimbire:  Here are a few service statistics, combining reports of our ZACH member hospitals.

Antenatal Care 2009 

 

 

Below 16 yrs

      16-24 yrs

         25yrs +

           Total

First visits

 

625

22516

18595

41736

Repeat visits

 

1216

60914

47591

109721

Referral out

 

725

1600

2118

4443

RPR test done

 

633

6089

6806

13528

HIV test done

 

250

1444

2129

3823

  Family Planning Services 2009

 

 

Below 16 yrs

      16-24 yrs

         25yrs +

           Total

First visits

 

625

22516

18595

41736

Repeat visits

 

1216

60914

47591

109721

Referral out

 

725

1600

2118

4443

RPR test done

 

633

6089

6806

13528

HIV test done

 

250

1444

2129

3823

 

CCIH:   What are your future FP/RH plans and hopes?

Ms Chitimbire:

  • Male circumcisions: This is another current national emphasis, with circumcisions performed during mobile clinics, particularly in rural areas where most mission hospitals are located. We are scaling up this program --under the MOHCW and the Zimbabwe Family Planning Council. We need improved messages -- for example, that condoms are still necessary, even after circumcision.
  • Personal genital hygiene: Teaching for both males and females. 
  • Training health workers to diagnose and treat menstrual problems, ruptures, etc.
  • Post-abortion care: Abortion is illegal in Zimbabwe, and no government protocols currently are in effect for post-abortion care. We plan to develop such guidelines for helping women who come to church hospitals with problems after having had an abortion elsewhere. 
  • Scaling up Sexual and Reproductive Health Education in schools and among youth -- for them to be responsible adults.  We are all looking for solutions to prevent STI and HIV infections. 

 

The needs are many. The ideas are many. We all have to start somewhere.

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 October 2012 19:25 )