Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe is now a nation with an economy in deep crisis. Poverty and unemployment are endemic and political strife and repression are commonplace.

MSF in Zimbabwe 2014

6,000 patients on first-line antiretroviral treatment
1,400 patients under treatment for TB
£10.1m expenditure
362 MSF staff

The landlocked country of 14.2 million people has for the past 35 years been led by President Robert Mugabe, the pro-independence campaigner who wrested control from a small white community and became the country's first black leader.

Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. However, access to treatment has improved in recent years.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has worked in the country since 2000, providing wide-ranging HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) care. 

Patient story

Gibson Chijaka, 17-year-old ex-TB patient from Epworth

Finally, this is the moment I have been waiting for. I have just been told today that I am cured of DR-TB and will not have to endure dozens of nauseating tablets which I have been taking every day for the past two years.

I am so happy and cannot hold back my joy. The last two years have been the most painful in my life. First being diagnosed with DR-TB at a tender age of 14, a highly stigmatized disease was not easy for me.

People would ask what type of TB he has which needs injections every day for eight months. Some would even ask what type of TB is it that he has to take about 18 tablets every day for two years. This is in addition to the anti-retroviral drugs I am taking.

Read more about Gibson’s painful journey on his blog

MSF’s work in Zimbabwe: 2014

Staff shortages, restricted clinic hours, high fees and long distances to facilities are some of the barriers that patients face in accessing HIV treatment in Zimbabwe.

MSF has worked with the health authorities to develop integrated care in government health facilities, decentralising diagnosis and treatment to help meet people’s needs close to home.


In Epworth, Harare, MSF focuses on paediatric and adolescent HIV and tuberculosis (TB), and on providing treatment to patients whose standard HIV or TB treatment has failed.

More than 2,660 patients under 20 were tested for HIV and more than 200 were started on treatment. Routine HIV and TB management was handed over to the health ministry in 2014 after more than a year of building up the necessary staff capacity.

A map of MSF's activities in Zimbabwe, 2014.

Find out more in our 2014 International Activity Report.

At the end of 2014, MSF had 362 staff in Zimbabwe. MSF began working in the country in 2000.

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