UN backs bid to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Zimbabwe

The United Nations (UN) and the World Bank are backing a bid by the Zimbabwe government to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in the country.

Over the next three years, the Zimbabwean authorities plan to put $700 million (£443 million) worth of funding towards the healthcare services in the country.

The aim of the plan, which is also being backed by Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO), is for infant mortality rates in the African nation to be reduced by 38 per cent and maternal deaths by 17 per cent, according to Marixie Mercado, a spokesperson for Unicef.

Over the past decade, maternal and infant health has deteriorated, which led to the country assessing ways to improve healthcare.

Around 100 Zimbabwean children die every day from mainly preventable causes.

Under the initiative, investments in health will rise from the current $9 per person, to the WHO's recommended $44 per person.

A recent report from the WHO, Unicef, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank revealed the number of maternal deaths during childbirth dropped by 34 per cent over the past 18 years.