Weather conditions that have recently alternated between drought and torrential rain have significantly affected the lives and livelihoods of people in Zimbabwe, especially in the southern region, where food insecurity and malnutrition rates are some of the highest in the country.
More than a decade of economic decline has exacerbated the situation, as most communities have experienced a drop in owner-produced stocks and households that previously engaged in subsistence farming have resorted to market purchases. Poor water and sanitation facilities in both urban and rural areas increase the risk of diseases, such as cholera and typhoid. Since International Medical Corps’ operations began in Zimbabwe in 2009, we have delivered quality health services, nutrition and food-security programs, and reduced the spread of waterborne diseases by increasing access to clean water and improving hygiene practices.
per 1,000 live births
Levels of food insecurity increased significantly in all 60 districts, with some districts recording levels as high as 79%.
Malnutrition and High Mortality Rates
15 districts report a global acute malnutrition rate of more than 5%, and two districts above 8%.
Poor Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
24% of the population does not have access to safe water sources, leaving them vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases.
Nutrition and Food Security
International Medical Corps is implementing health and nutrition activities as part of the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture-led Development Food Assistance Program, known as Amalima. Our teams deliver monthly food rations at more than 75 primary and secondary distribution points to improve household food and nutrition security, targeting homes with pregnant and lactating women and children under two. Our teams are also distributing protective rations aimed at reducing intra-household sharing of the supplemental ration during lean season periods.
Healthy Harvest and other Training Programs
Through a program known as Healthy Harvest, International Medical Corps trains community health workers on nutrition assessment, the causes of malnutrition and the importance of producing healthy foods. These health workers pass on the Heathy Harvest approach and skills to field health officers and community care volunteers and garden groups, having created a cadre of more than 7,000 people so far who have benefited from the training. We also are collaborating with the Ministry of Health to train health workers on integrated management of acute malnutrition.
Community Health Club Activities
As part of the Amalima program, our teams organize community-based facilitator meetings in each district to plan and conduct effective community health club activities aimed at youth engagement.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Our WASH work focuses on community engagement and training of “pump minders” to improve management of water points and service delivery, so people can access safe water from community boreholes.
The Power of Clean Water
The people of the San community from Mtshina village in Tsholotsho district were traditionally hunter-gatherers. Recently, they have settled around the Plumtree area of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. As relatively new arrivals in the region, community members try to earn a living through casual labor in neighboring villages—but they often remain marginalized. Children from the village would frequently suffer from illnesses, including diarrhea, skin infections and bilharzia, which would make them urinate blood. Few in the village understood that these conditions were related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene practices.READ MORE