Through a generous investment from ELMA Philanthropies, Higherlife Foundation on 10 December 2020 commenced the handover of maternal health medical equipment to seven hospitals in Zimbabwe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the provision of essential maternal and neonatal health services and severely eroded the steady gains that Zimbabwe had made in improving mortality rates. Over the next year, without intervention, maternal and neonatal mortality rates could increase by 48% and 30% respectively.
“When we heard about the state of our maternity wards, we knew we had to respond. Through the generous support of our close partner ELMA Philanthropies, who funded the project, we can invest in saving the lives of the most vulnerable of our communities, new-born babies and their mothers.
“ELMA Philanthropies’ response for which we are truly grateful, has proven to us that as Zimbabweans, we do not walk alone, there are like-minded organisations and partners who are willing, not only to empathise with us but also to invest in us,” said Dr Kennedy Mubaiwa, Higherlife Foundation CEO.
The equipment handover is part of the Foundation’s work to create a safe working environment in maternity wards and to improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes across the targeted institutions by addressing the shortages of equipment that lead to incorrect risk assessments, diagnosis, and treatment.
This handover will see 925 Blood Pressure Machines, 55 Glucometers, 110 Infrared Thermometers and 54 Fetal Dopplers distributed to maternity departments at Sally Mugabe Hospital, Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital, Chitungwiza Hospital, Mpilo Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Manicaland Provincial Hospital and Midlands Provincial Hospital.
In addition to the initial placement, the Foundation intends to supply the hospitals with more large-scale, high-tech equipment early next year. In order to strengthen health systems, build technical capacity and improve service delivery, Higherlife Foundation will also provide training for health facility personnel.
“The comprehensive training will utilise a blended learning approach of both in-person and online training courses to broaden the knowledge, expertise and competence of doctors, midwives, nurses, and auxiliary staff in the maternity wards.
“This investment is an expression of our deep sense of appreciation for all medical personnel who spend the greater part of their lives and careers saving Zimbabwean lives and helping our communities to thrive,” said Dr Mubaiwa. Higherlife Foundation is guided by their “Vision 2050” – to see Zimbabwe become an upper-middle income economy by 2050. A key component of achieving this vision is building healthy, thriving, and resilient communities that are at the centre of the Foundation’s interventions in health