UNICEF selects Zambia as innovation lab for child, maternal survival

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Hamid El-Bashir, UNICEF Representative in ZambiaThe UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday announced that its office in Zambia had been chosen as its latest innovation laboratory to develop solutions for key social issues in child and maternal survival.

Hamid El-Bashir, UNICEF Representative in Zambia, said on Wednesday that “Zambia becomes the UN’s 15th innovation canter in the world.’’

He said that the Zambian office had been chosen because of its programme, Mwana (meaning baby), in which SMS technology was being used to lower the time it takes for mothers to learn the results of early infant diagnosis of HIV.

“Our team has worked to inspire more than 40, 000 Zambian youths and adolescents to sign-up for U-Report to receive free, confidential, and real-time information on critically important issues such as how they protect themselves from HIV.

“ I am also proud that we are producing innovative work in our water, sanitation and hygiene program,” he added.

El-Bashir said the innovation labs work to bring together the private sector, academia, and governments to develop solutions for key social issues in child and maternal survival, according to the statement.

He said that he was currently discussing with the Zambian government and other partners where to house the Innovation Laboratory, adding that the laboratory would be open to children and youth who want to develop and test their ideas.

El-Bashir further expressed optimism that the work would product terrific results in helping Zambia reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)