As a result of years of government mismanagement and underfunding, Zimbabweans’ health has declined, the country’s clinics and systems have deteriorated, the number of available medical staff has been decimated, and basic supplies, essential drugs, and equipment are lacking. USAID seeks to help these trends by complementing humanitarian assistance that provides a social safety net to those most in need with longer-term efforts to rebuild the systems that provide health services.
USAID focuses on strengthening maternal and child health by increasing access to voluntary family planning services, reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS, and controlling tuberculosis through better case detection and management. In addition, USAID continues to support activities that improve access to clean water and mitigate the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, by promoting hygiene education. These programs benefit over 1 million Zimbabweans.
While HIV/AIDS remains a serious concern in Zimbabwe, gains made in recent years to prevent mother-to-child disease transmission and encourage safer sexual behaviors have had notable success. The prevalence of the disease has decreased from 20.5 percent in 2005 to 15 percent today, and the rate of new infections is decreasing as well.
The United States provides substantial support to the HIV response through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
- U.S. assistance provides 80,000 people with HIV with life-saving antiretroviral therapy.
- Through PEPFAR, USAID supports HIV testing and counseling for over 350,000 people every year.
- The United States provides support to 85 percent of the country’s antenatal clinics to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
- USAID provides education, social, and medical support for 60,000 orphans and vulnerable children.
Family planning and reproductive health is integrated with HIV/AIDS services to expand access to high-quality information and services.
Malaria is the third leading cause of sickness and death in Zimbabwe. Pregnant women and children are among the most vulnerable, and for children who are also suffering from AIDS, acute respiratory infection, or malnutrition, treating the disease is complicated. Approximately half of the population lives in areas where malaria is common, which means that universal coverage of interventions to control malaria is an attainable and cost-effective goal.
In 2011, Zimbabwe became a focus of the President’s Malaria Initiative. To prevent transmission of the disease and improve treatment effectiveness, USAID supports:
- Distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets and promotion of their use
- Indoor residual spraying
- Intermittent preventative treatment of pregnant women
- Training for health facility and community health workers to improve diagnosis and treatment
- Monitoring and evaluation for disease surveillance and commodity tracking
Last updated: May 10, 2013