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 2015

35,300 patients on first-line ARV treatment
3,600 individual and group mental health consultations
1,400 people treated after incidents of sexual violence
£8.8m expenditure
219 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: 2015

HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe has reduced from over 30 percent at its peak in 2000 to around 15 percent in 2015. Despite this success though, there are still gaps in treatment for some groups of the population.

MSF continues to support the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to achieve the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS.

In order to improve the management of large cohorts of stable patients, community-based models of care have been introduced in Gutu, Buhera, Chikomba, Epworth, Makoni, Mutare, Mutasa and Nyanga.

These models involve setting up community groups and people take it in turns to pick up the antiretroviral (ARV) drug refills. These groups have quickly grown and now include a total of more than 5,040 patients.

We also continue to promote the use of targeted and routine viral load monitoring, testing a total of 58,434 patients in 2015.

Sexual violence

We provided treatment and psychosocial support to victims of sexual violence at the Mbare and Epworth clinics.

Teams also conducted health promotion activities to raise awareness of the importance of seeking medical care within 72 hours of abuse to prevent unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

A total of 2,325 consultations were carried in 2015 at the Mbare clinic alone and of these, 1,361 were new patients.

Psychiatric care

We continue to provide diagnosis, treatment and care to around 330 inmates with mental illness at Chikurubi maximum security prison and Chikurubi female prison in Harare.

A total of 1,615 mental health consultations were carried out this year.

In collaboration with the MoHCC, MSF started a new mental health project in Harare central hospital, offering treatment and support to patients in the psychiatric unit.

Water and sanitation

In 2015, more than 30,000 people benefited from our projects providing clean water and better sanitation in suburbs of Harare prone to outbreaks of disease such as typhoid which is caused by poor water supply and hygiene conditions.

Through our programmes we rehabilitated 20 boreholes, and collaborated with other partner organisations like Africa AHEAD to ensure that the communities knew how to protect water to avoid contamination both at the source and at home. 


Find out more in our 2015 International Activity Report

Map of MSF's activities in Zimbabwe, 2015

At the end of 2015, MSF had 219 staff in Zimbabwe. MSF began working in the country in 2000.


Latest news

Related News & Publications