Médecins du Monde in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, political and economic crises, cyclones, floods, droughts, epidemics, the departure of qualified personnel («brain drain») and hyperinflation have all had a considerable and negative impact on the provision of basic social services in the country’s health, education, water and sanitation and social welfare sectors. On 2009, following the full-blown political and economic crisis, the Zimbabwean health system practically collapsed. Many health workers had left the country, the availability of medicines was greatly reduced while the HIV pandemic grew to affect 23% of the population and the country was hit by a food crisis and a cholera epidemic. Médecins du Monde directed its activities towards supporting the existing health system in Chipinge district in the south-east of the country. With its susceptibility to drought, Chipinge is one of the largest and poorest districts in Zimbabwe, with areas of the district very isolated and difficult to access. Chipinge is also situated along transit roads to South Africa and Mozambique, which encourages migration of population. HIV prevalence among antenatal clinic attendees reached 17,6% (UNGASS, 2007) and child malnutrition rates are among the highest in the country.