The Swedish government, one of Zambia’s closest development allies has unblocked up to 400 million Swedish Kroners (sek), which amounts to about US $47,3 million meant for improving the Zambian health sector, according to a press release from the Zambian Embassy in Stockholm. The money must be directed towards projects that will reduce the number or deaths among babies and mothers, including tackling other reproductive health challenges.
The release of the money ends a six-year old dry spell of health aid freeze by Sweden to Zambia after the Nordic country raised concerns regarding financial misapplication, a situation which has changed and revived the corporating partner’s hopes that, under President Edgar Lungu, the aid will go towards saving babies and mothers, as intended by the donor country.
Under the agreement, Zambia shall receive an initial 69 million sek, for the programme that will run for a four year period starting from 2015-2019. The assistance from the Swedish government is being extended to Zambia jointly with the Department for International Development (DFID), the development arm of the United Kingdom, as more Donor countries resume, or boost assistance to Zambia following President Lungu’s popular poll on 20th January 2015.
The Swedish pack in the assistance is 400million sek, money which will compliment well, existing Zambian health funded projects and reduce mortality rates among mothers and babies significantly, in line with the President Lungu campaign promises. The support will focus on reproductive, maternal, neo-natal, child and adolescent health. Sweden is currently “reviewing various assessments” to ensure that the aid works well for both Zambia and themselves as a key partner.
A Swedish government team will soon travel to Lusaka to discuss with relevant ministries, how to complete the finance process and ensure procurement and other issues are properly in place and acceptable to both partner countries for finalisation.