Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
THE Government has established 22 victim friendly courts countrywide to eliminate child marriages and sexual abuse cases.
A victim friendly court is designed in such a way that a confined room is installed with information communication technology systems from where victims of sexual abuse can testify without having to face the perpetrator.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said different Government departments have also been engaging with traditional leaders to play an active role as child marriages are mostly rife in rural areas.
“The Government of Zimbabwe offers child sensitive services through the Victim Friendly Court System (VFCS) in 22 regional courts around the country,” he said.
“The VFCS endeavours to protect vulnerable witnesses who come to court, most of whom have been sexually abused. These children take an active role in court where they testify in camera to reduce trauma through contact with alleged perpetrators.”
Dr Moyo said awareness raising efforts to conscientise communities on the negative effects of child marriages are ongoing.
He said it was the vision of the Ministry to ensure women benefit immensely from Government investment in the health sector.
“A decline in maternal mortality and child mortality ratio has been noted following the increased investment in the health sector by the Government.
“The improvement in the performance of Health status indicators were largely due to increased investment in the health sector especially for women, children and adolescents by the Government and its partners,” Dr Moyo said.
The 2015 Demographic Health Survey says Zimbabwe’s child mortality rate has dropped to 69 from 84 in 2010 while the maternal mortality rate dropped to 651 in 2015 from 960 in 2010.