The top three health threats facing the people of Zimbabwe are HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. These diseases have contributed significantly to maternal and childhood illnesses and deaths, which have more than tripled over the past twenty years. A decade of declining economic conditions and rising costs has eroded a health system once known in the region for its well educated doctors and ability to provide advanced medical care. Today, USAID, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, supports programs to reduce preventable deaths and lessen the burden of disease, especially among women and children.
USAID’s prevention and treatment programs under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have had great success. Adult HIV prevalence is currently 15 percent, compared to 18 percent in 2005-06 and 25 percent in 1997. Despite this decline in prevalence, Zimbabwe remains a high-incidence country.
Annually, the United States provides substantial HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and support through PEPFAR to:
- Reach approximately 50,000 HIV positive pregnant women with antiretrovirals (ARV) to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, representing about 80 percent of estimated total women in need of the drug
- Provide voluntary medical male circumcision for approximately 82,000 men, representing 93 percent of all male circumcisions in the country
- Provide over 160,000 HIV positive people with life-saving antiretroviral therapy, which represents approximately 25 percent of all ARV patients
- Support HIV testing and counseling for over 350,000 people
- Provide HIV/AIDS educational, psycho-social, and medical services to more than 162,000 vulnerable children
Tuberculosis is the second leading cause of death in Zimbabwe and the number of drug-resistant cases is rising. About three-fourths of all tuberculosis patients are co-infected with HIV/AIDS. With USG support, the national TB treatment success rate is steadily improving, from 77 percent in 2011 to 80 percent in 2012. USAID has vastly improved the turnaround time for diagnosis from 21 days to 7 days in rural areas, and from 7 days to 1 day in urban areas.
Malaria is the third leading cause of death, with approximately half of the population living in areas where malaria is common. Pregnant women and children are among the most vulnerable.
In 2011, Zimbabwe became a President’s Malaria Initiative recipient country and USAID is working to prevent transmission of the disease and improve treatment. In 2013, USAID distributed over 690,000 insecticide-treated nets, over 550,000 malaria prevention drugs to pregnant women, and 1.2 million malaria test kits as part of prevention efforts.
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
USAID’s support has increased the number of safe childbirths and improved child health services at 17 facilities in Manicaland Province. Programs also strengthen family planning services and provide services to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
- Provided affordable family planning services, which has contributed to annually averting approximately 100,000 unintended pregnancies and more than 450 maternal deaths
- Supported a decline in early newborn deaths in Manicaland Province over a two year period from 63 per 1,000 live births to 31 per live births
Last updated: February 12, 2016