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UNICEF Zimbabwe 2013 in Review

© UNICEF 2014

Multiple sources of data suggest that children in Zimbabwe in 2013 are better off than they were 5 years ago. During 2013, amidst pre-election uncertainties, the UNICEF Zimbabwe Country Office (ZCO) supported basic social services to women and children, primarily through multi-donor transition funds in health, education, child protection and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), contributing to the following achievements:

  • All primary health clinics offered free maternal/child health services and 87.2% have at least 80% of essential medicines (83.7% in 2012); immunization coverage was maintained at 95%; nearly 3 million children were reached with mass drug administration for schistosomiasis and intestinal worms; 70% of health facilities offered integrated management of newborn/childhood illness and neonatal resuscitation; 81% of HIV positive-pregnant women received prophylactic antiretrovirals (ARVs); paediatric antiretroviral therapy coverage (ART) increased to 52% from 42% (2012) and over 4,000 young people participated in HIV-related activities.
  • Access to education was maintained with 95.6% primary net enrolment rate (95.2% male, 96% female) and 52% secondary net enrolment rate (49.3% male, 50% female). The gender parity index is 1.01 and primary completion rate is 86.7%. Education access and quality were enhanced by maintaining a 1:1 pupil-to-textbook ratio, training and effective supervision of teachers in 35% (2,865) of primary and secondary schools, and improved WASH.
  • 90,000 vulnerable children (58% female, 42% male) received child protection services, including services for children living with disabilities.  Cash transfers benefited 33,200 poor households, encompassing 97,561 children, while 272 (out of 355) alleged child offenders received juvenile justice assistance.
  • Approximately 1 million people in urban areas received improved water supply, 6,000 people benefited from rehabilitated sewage collection and 166,000 people in 7 urban centers received hygiene messages. Improved urban council billing systems strengthened government ability to sustain services.  In rural areas, 78,278 persons (35,279 male, 43,449 female) benefited from 384 new bush pumps and 97 repaired boreholes. Access to safe drinking water increased from 95.1% (MIMS 2009) to 97.8% (PICES 2012). Cholera was reduced from 98,531 cases and 4,282 deaths in 2008 to 6 cases and 0 deaths (Ministry of Health 2013).
  • The policy environment was strengthened through the launch of the National Life Skills, Sexuality and HIV Education Strategy, the National Youth Policy, the National Rural WASH Policy and the National Combination HIV Prevention Strategy.

Nonetheless, women and children continue to face barriers to utilization of services due to user fees, distance, cost of transport and religious beliefs, while geographic and wealth disparities persist. Given that 72% of households live in poverty (22.5% of which live in extreme poverty), UNICEF is prioritizing addressing these inequities and their social determinants.

The transition funds are aligned with the ZCO Country Programme (CP) cycle (2012-2015). National budget constraints raise concerns about the Government’s ability to sustain gains beyond 2015.  In 2014 UNICEF will continue strengthening government systems to deliver quality services nationwide, advocate for budget allocations, and support the Government and civil society to build the resilience of families in a context of high poverty and food insecurity.

 

 

 

 
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