The inability of the public sector to deliver basic social services, and the severe impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic have led to a decline in the overall health and well-being of the population. Zimbabwe’s under five mortality rate is still high at 86/1 000 (MIMS 2009). HIV and AIDS, Neonatal infections/conditions, Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI), malaria and diarrhoea diseases are some of the major contributors to child mortality.
The decline in the Zimbabwe’s economy over the lastdecade, affected the success of the Expanded Immunisation Programme. Inadequate foreign currency resulted in failure to purchase vaccines, LP gas, cold chain equipment and other key equipment like vehicles for outreach services, for the continuous provision of immunization to children. The risk for children contracting diseases and epidemic outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases is high.
Although the Government of Zimbabwe has increased the proportion of the national budget allocated to health expenditure has shrunk to barely cover salaries and other immediate needs. Health facilities are therefore failing to function effectively because of the lack of basic supplies and high staff attrition.
Malnutrition in Zimbabwe has been compounded by an interaction between inadequate dietary, poor food security, sub-optimal household care practices, and limited access health services, clean water, and sanitation. The nutrition situation is further exacerbated by extremely high rates of HIV and AIDS. The stunting prevalence of children between 6 – 59 months is 35%.
While the prevalence of HIV infection has declined considerably over the past decade, Zimbabwe still hosts one of the highest rates in the world: 13.7 percent of adults between the ages of 15 and 49 are HIV positive, and nearly 18 percent of pregnant women are HIV positive.
As a result of health systems breakdown, high user fees and high staff turnover, more than 2 500 women are dying each year due to pregrancy related complications. More than 39% of women are delivering at home.
National Child Survival Strategy For Zimbabwe 2010 - 2015