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MSF in Zimbabwe, 2007
Field Staff: 389
Reason for Intervention:
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According to the UN three million economic refugees are estimated to have fled Zimbabwe, a country characterized by 80 per cent unemployment, rampant inflation, foreign currency shortages, food insecurity and a crumbling healthcare infrastructure. in addition to the HIV/AIDS crisis, MSF has seen the rise of epidemic diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis.
Since 2002, MSF has implemented projects in Zimbabwe to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Health and other donors, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among pregnant women in some areas of Zimbabwe is above 30 per cent and the general prevalence is 15.6 per cent, still one of the highest in the world.
MSF has supported the Ministry of Health in decentralizing healthcare delivery to rural and city clinics in Bulawayo, Tsholotsho, Gweru, Epworth and Buhera. Increased proximity has resulted in more patients accessing the treatment and care they need. By the end of 2007, MSF was providing care to 35,000 patients with HIV/AIDS, approximately 16,000 of whom were receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART).
MSF has seen the rise of epidemic diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis.
The comprehensive approach to the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS includes voluntary counseling and testing, treatment for HIV and opportunistic infections, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, nutritional supplements, medical care to victims of violence and general psychological support. MSF also carries out HIV/AIDS educational programs and trains health workers to manage the different components of the HIV/ AIDS programs and ART.
The effects of price policies, hyperinflation, food shortages, recurrent droughts and poor harvests in recent years, combined with a high prevalence of HIV and TB, have resulted in worrying trends in malnutrition. MSF supports a therapeutic feeding center in Tsholotsho district hospital and, at the end of 2007, set up a day feeding center in Epworth to respond to the increasing numbers of malnourished children seen during the year.
MSF also provided emergency clinical support for diarrhoeal outbreaks in the rural district of Gokwe, the town of Kadoma, the Harare suburb of Mabvuku-Tafara and in the city of Bulawayo.
MSF has worked in Zimbabwe since 2000.