Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe is now a nation with an economy in deep crisis

Poverty and unemployment are endemic while political strife and repression are commonplace in Zimbabwe.

The landlocked country of 16.2 million people was, for almost 40 years, 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's economy has been in decline since the 1990s, with very few funds available for any public expenditure and social services.

As a result, the health sector faces numerous challenges, including shortages of medical commodities and essential medicines.

Cyclone Idai response: March 2019

MSF is on the ground providing emergency medical assistance to people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe affected by the damage and devastating flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai.

The full scale of the disaster is still unknown, however, officials have said they expect the death toll to be in the thousands.


Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani, a small district of approximately 30,000 people in Manicaland province, late Friday 15 March, after passing through Mozambique.

  • Several roads leading into Chimanimani have been cut off
  • The only access into the area is by helicopter
  • Airlifts were intended to take place to a nearby stabilisation centre but efforts are being hampered by difficult conditions.

Our team has been unable to access Chimanimani with supplies and medical materials due to destroyed bridges.

We are now providing services at a stabilisation centre 20 kilometres from Chimanimani.

Outside Chimanimani, we are focusing on supporting stabilisation centres with medical supplies and water and sanitation needs.



Zimbabwe: Key information

We have worked in the country since 2000. We currently run projects in partnership with the  Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Care to provide wide-ranging HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and mental healthcare.

The HIV prevalence rate has decreased from 30 percent in the early 2000s to 15 percent today, however, there are still major gaps in vital treatments and services available to patients.

© Rachel Corner/De Beeldunie

In Epworth polyclinic, a comprehensive package of HIV, TB and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) care is adapted for all ages and cervical cancer screenings and early treatment strategies are provided for all HIV-positive women.

We offer comprehensive support to victims of sexual violence and also comprehensive services for adolescents in the urban district of Mbare.

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