People Helped in 2018: 3,364
Since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has experienced a tense political environment and an unstable economy. To tackle its financial challenges, the country is creating initiatives to rejuvenate the economy, including replacing the national currency with the American dollar for international trade. While the economy has improved significantly in recent years, the public health situation continues to deteriorate. High rates of malnutrition, alarming numbers of HIV and AIDS cases, and frequent cholera outbreaks are huge humanitarian challenges.
Many Zimbabweans suffer from malnutrition coupled with HIV/AIDS infections, but the country’s massively deteriorated public health system is not properly equipped to handle this double threat. Since Action Against Hunger started in Zimbabwe in 2002, we have committed to integrating HIV and AIDS education and treatment in all of the programs that we conduct. Approximately 70% of patients diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition also have HIV/AIDS, and our nutrition programs are specifically designed to treat this particularly vulnerable group.
Chronic malnutrition among children under five now stands at 32 percent. Drought recurred in 2018, decreasing nutrition, food security, and access to water among the most vulnerable populations. A cholera epidemic has spread in the capital and has deteriorated due to antibiotic resistance in the population and shortcomings of the health and sanitation systems.
In 2018, an emergency project with our local partner in water, sanitation and hygiene, aimed to contain and prevent the spread of cholera among working people in and around Harare. In Mberengwa District, our teams carried out activities to improve food and nutrition security of people affected by the El Niño drought and to protect their livelihoods.