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MSF in Zimbabwe, 2006
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Grinding poverty, political violence and HIV/AIDS are wreaking havoc on the health of many Zimbabweans. Dramatic inflation rates in recent years have made medical care out of reach for most people, who bear the costs for most consultations, inpatient care, laboratory services and transportation.
Between May and July 2005, an estimated 700,000 people were made homeless as the Zimbabwean government demolished illegal settlements and marketplaces in a number of cities. MSF assisted displaced persons near Harare, conducting over 20,000 medical consultations from January to April 2006 at projects in the Epworth, Hopely Farm and Bellapaise Farm settlements. The team also distributed blankets and plastic sheeting.
In early February 2006, heavy rains spread cholera to urban and rural areas of the country. MSF assisted the Ministry of Health by setting up cholera treatment centers in the provinces of Manicaland, Mashonaland East and the Epworth section of Harare. Teams also provided medical and logistical supplies, transported patients and trained health workers. MSF installed and repaired water systems in health centers and organised health promotion activities. By July 2006, over 900 cases of cholera had been treated.
Almost one-quarter of the adult population of Zimbabwe is infected with HIV and more than 3200 people die from HIV/ AIDS-related illnesses each week. In the southern city of Bulawayo, Matabeleland province, Gweru in Midlands province, the Tsholotsho district of Matabeleland, North province and Buhera district of Manicaland province, MSF provides HIV/ AIDS-related care to thousands and treats almost 3000 with antiretroviral (ARV) medicines. Malnourished children admitted at projects are tested for HIV/AIDS and given care as needed. MSF is improving laboratory testing facilities and supporting efforts to decentralise treatment to rural clinics, making HIV/AIDS care more accessible for those living in isolated areas.
MSF has worked in Zimbabwe since 2000.