PSZ: Empowering women through sexual, reproductive health services

As one of the major stakeholders in the provision of quality family planning/reproductive health care services in the country, Population Service Zimbabwe (PSZ) stand with the women of Zimbabwe and the nation at large in commemorating the International Women’s Day. We join the global community in empowering women by asserting their right to family planning and sexual reproductive health.

According to the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) (2010/2011),maternal mortality in Zimbabwe currently stands at 960/100,000 live births, which is among the highest levels in Africa. HIV and AIDS related conditions are the main indirect cause of maternal mortality, contributing up to 25% of all maternal deaths including contributing to the high level of cervical cancer. The unmet need for family planning, especially among adolescents, and increasing gender based violence has also contributed to the unacceptable state of sexual reproductive health in Zimbabwe.

Young women, in particular, are more vulnerable to Sexual Reproductive Health problems due to gender inequality, low access to education, early marriage, adolescent pregnancy and poor access to SRH services. Responding to these needs PSZ, one of the country’s largest sexual and reproductive health organisations, complementing the government efforts in increasing access to affordable SRH services, is working in all the ten provinces of the country providing client centred high quality family planning services through its three service delivery channels:PSZ clinics, BlueStar social franchising clinics and mobile outreach teams.

Utilising a unique business model and innovative methods, PSZ’s mandate is to increase access to family planning services for the hard to reach and the underserved communities where the need and impact is greatest. The network of three service delivery models is utilised to inspire change in women’s reproductive health lives through provision of affordable and easily accessible family planning/sexual reproductive health care services.

The services delivery channels consist of a network of 8 clinics in urban areas, 9 outreach teams which operate in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe in over 700 predominantly rural sites reaching out to the underserved communities and a partnership with the private sector in the medical fraternity through the BlueStar Healthcare Network franchise.

Bluestar is a social franchise established in 2012 whose goal is forming partnerships with the private sector to increase access and affordability to world class quality family planning/ sexual reproductive health products and services for low income women and men of the reproductive age.

There are over one hundred partners in BlueStar healthcare Network  covering eight out of the ten provinces in the Country, providing affordable services through one’s preferred private surgery, clinic or mission hospital.  BlueStar clinics have even been established in the hardest to reach areas of rural Gokwe and Zhombe.

PSZ’s three main service delivery channels have inspired women to change as it provides them with a wider choice of world class, quality family planning services through their preferred service provider.

The outreach model is also expanding to reach out to those hard to reach communities where the nearest clinic might be more than 10kilometers away. Recently the outreach teams have expanded to Manicaland province to support the other outreach teams covering the other 9 provinces.

In the year 2013, the outreach teams managed to reach out to more than 310,000 clients with quality FP/SRH services. The PSZ clinic in Mutare has also recently relocated to Sakubva. The purpose of relocating to Sakubva was to increase access for more women, those who stay in Sakubva and those on their way to their rural communities in Manicaland.

Our objective in these efforts is to complement the Ministry Of Health and Child Care (MOH&CC) in reducing maternal mortality in Zimbabwe. Through increasing access to family planning and reproductive health care services, PSZ is inspiring women to adopt safer, more effective contraceptive methods, and therefore women can enjoy the benefits of health timing and spacing of pregnancy.

Health timing and spacing of pregnancy means women have a chance to plan when they want the next child and what contraceptive method they can use and when to start using contraception especially following the birth of another child. Health timing and spacing of pregnancies helps to avoid health related risks of frequent, unplanned and unspaced births. Women also bear healthy babies and are able to take care of their family.

Additional benefits of effective family planning include the peace of mind with no fear of pregnancy and being in control of the number of children you want to have and having children when you are ready to have them. Effective family planning increases the women’s vision of children by choice not chance, which is one of PSZ’s guiding principles.

To further commemorate International Women’s Day and to re-affirm our commitment to continue inspiring change in more women, PSZ through its two service delivery channels, PSZ Clinics and Bluestar clinics will be further increasing access and affordability of family planning services by reducing all prices for family planning services by half on Saturday 8 March 2014.

You too can rediscover and learn more about family planning by calling our trained professionals.

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