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PRESS RELEASE: In Zambia, Lives Saved by Nation’s Bold Approach to Health Care

May 22, 2013  • Institute Contributor



Contact: Elise Mann
Aspen Global Health and Development
The Aspen Institute



2013 Resolve Award Recognizes Zambia for Advances in Reproductive Health Care


Geneva, May 22, 2013 –Today, Zambia will receive the prestigious Resolve Award, which honors nations for expanding access to essential reproductive health services. The Honorable Dr. Joseph Kasonde, Minister of Health, will accept the Award on behalf of the Government of Zambia at a ceremony celebrating the Resolve Awardees during the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Award honors Zambia’s efforts to ensure that all people have access to primary and reproductive health services, and to provide those services in a convenient, integrated way. “People do not want to go to separate facilities for family planning and for child health,” says Dr. Kasonde. “We are working to meet all of their health needs in one place.” 

Integrated service delivery is part of a larger restructuring and strengthening of health services in Zambia. A decade ago, Zambia’s rates of HIV/AIDS and maternal and child mortality were among the world’s highest, and access to family planning and reproductive health care was limited. Years of “structural adjustment” had decimated the country’s health and social service sectors.

In response, over the last decade, the Zambian government increased spending on primary and reproductive health by 50%. Today, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and maternal and child health services are offered free of charge in the public sector. And the government is constructing 650 new rural health posts, to facilitate integrated service delivery. 

These efforts are producing measurable results. In the decade since Zambia adopted the new approach:

Contraceptive use increased from 15% to 41% 

More than three quarters of pregnant women living with HIV have been provided with anti-retroviral drugs and counseling to prevent transmission

Maternal mortality has declined by 40%

Malaria deaths have been reduced by 67%


As a recipient of the Resolve Award, Zambia’s efforts to improve primary and reproductive health will receive international attention. The Resolve Award is granted by the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC), a group of eighteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health. 

Resolve Award winners are chosen through a competitive global nominations process. In addition to Zambia, this year’s winners include The Gambia and Kenya, with a special mention to Sierra Leone.

The Award will be presented by GLC Chair Joy Phumaphi. Ms. Phumaphi, who also serves as Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), is the former Minister of Health for Botswana. 

Zambia and other Resolve Award winners can inspire other nations, says Phumaphi. “There are many barriers to reproductive health access.  It might be that services are too expensive or inconvenient. It might be abusive husbands who do not want their wives to use family planning. But, as the Resolve Award winners have shown, all of these barriers can be overcome.”

As the world’s nations discuss development strategies to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015, Kenya and other Resolve Award winners can point the way forward. “The Resolve Award winners show what we can do—and what we must do—to lead the way to universal access to reproductive health and rights,” says Phumaphi.

Join the webcast on May 22 at to watch the ceremony and participate via Twitter by following @GLCRHresolve and#ResolveAward.

About The Aspen Institute 

The Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, established by The Aspen Institute in 2010, is composed of eighteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health. The Council works to revitalize political commitments to reproductive health by increasing awareness of reproductive health issues, supporting the effective use of donor resources, and championing policies dedicated to achieving universal access to reproductive health. Learn more at

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit