Thousands of pregnant women in Zimbabwe have access to life-saving health facilities in Zimbabwe, thanks to health institutions with which Cordaid has a results-based financing contract. But now that El Niño-induced drought has hit the country, pregnant women are the first to suffer the consequences of food insecurity.
This is why Cordaid will provide food aid in the health facilities to just over 19,000 pregnant women, with funding we received from the Dutch government in July.
The Dutch government’s funding is part of a wider relief program of the Dutch Relief Alliance in Zimbabwe. Cordaid’s interventions comprise food relief as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
397 hospitals and clinics
Cordaid has been working in Zimbabwe for the past five years, implementing the country’s supply-side results-based financing (RBF) for healthcare in 18 rural districts and 397 clinics and hospitals. We do this with funding from the World Bank and the Government of Zimbabwe.
Maternal, neonatal and child health
Supply-side RBF is the payment of cash subsidies to health facilities based on the quantity of pre-agreed services they provide. They are then free to use these subsidies to purchase inputs they regard necessary to the provision of healthcare services. Our program has a particular focus on maternal, neonatal and child health.
This El Niño response project directly impacts the households of more than 19.000 pregnant women in the six months that it is expected to run.
In July 2016, the Dutch government awarded Cordaid 388.000 Euro, to implement a separate program in Zimbabwe in response to the El Nino-induced drought. Cordaid Zimbabwe resolved to embed this new project into its already existing broader healthcare activities.
Somewhere to stay when labor starts…
Two of the services that Cordaid pays health facilities subsidies for are institutional deliveries and postnatal care. In order to encourage women to give birth at health institutions, many of the facilities have built shelters, known as ‘waiting mothers’ homes’, near the premises. These provide lodgings to women that reside far away from the health facility but are almost due for delivery, so that they are close enough to the facility and the health workers when labor commences.
The ‘waiting mothers’ playing a ball game and killing time before they will go into labor.
…and something to eat
This greatly improves access to healthcare. But more and more a lack of food, especially now that drought is severe, often prevents pregnant women from going to the health facilities. There is simply no food for them to eat while there.
That’s why, the coming six months, Cordaid will be paying additional subsidies to health institutions it has an RBF contract with, to feed women who are lodging at the waiting mothers’ homes and who are admitted into postnatal care wards. In addition, women who have delivered at the health facilities will be given a food basket upon discharge, for them to take home. Food items include maize meal, sugar beans, dried kapenta and soy chunks.
Health facilities themselves will be responsible for procuring the project commodities. Cordaid Zimbabwe will receive, check and pay the relevant facilities in retrospect, just like the long-running RBF project Cordaid Zimbabwe is implementing.
Designing the project in this way means we don’t need to set up parallel systems. In addition to the food relief, the same grant will be used to improve the water supply amenities at health facilities that we work with. On top of that, we will provide the women lodging at the waiting mothers’ homes with buckets to store clean water and with soap.
This El Niño response project directly impacts the households of more than 19,000 pregnant women (over 80,000 people) in the six months that it is expected to run. The rehabilitation of water supply systems at the health facilities will make a difference to many more.