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UNICEF and Government of Zimbabwe release new social sectors data

Survey confirms worsening situation for Zimbabwe’s women and children in the last five years 100 children under 5 years of age dying every day

HARARE 24 November 2009 – UNICEF together with the Government of Zimbabwe today released new social development data which revealed a worsening situation for women and children in Zimbabwe.

The Multiple Indicator and Monitoring Survey (MIMS), which was conducted in May 2009 reported a deterioration in access to many key social services for women and children, particularly for the poorest populations and in rural areas.
“The MIMS data underscores the deterioration that has occurred in the social sectors in the last few years and the tragic consequences that have resulted, said Dr Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative. Today and everyday in Zimbabwe 100 children below five years of age are dying of mostly preventable diseases.”

The data showed a 20 per cent increase in under five mortality since 1990, the baseline year for the Millennium Development Goals, with children in rural areas and those in the poorest one fifth of the population being the most vulnerable.  Major causes of death of children under 5 are HIV/AIDS, newborn disorders, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The survey also showed startling data that 1 in 2 pregnant women in rural areas were now delivering at home and that 39 per cent nationally were not accessing the requisite medical facilities for delivery, while 40  per cent where not attended to at birth by a skilled attendant posing huge dangers for both mothers and newborns. These findings confirm the result of previous research indicating that user fees and other financial barriers are limiting women’s access to life-saving obstetric services.

In addition data from the national survey which had a sample size of 12,500 households in Zimbabwe, revealed stark disparities between the rich and poor with the lowest quintile being the hardest hit in terms of access to critical services in health and education.

Current data also revealed limited support to the country’s orphaned and vulnerable children, with 79 per cent not receiving any form of external assistance. Further, around two-thirds of all children in the country do not possess birth certificates.
The survey is designed to obtain strategic information relevant for policy makers as they make decisions on development priorities and budgets. In addition the survey provides data on Zimbabwe’s progress in attaining international priorities like the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs).

“The MIMS data provides a powerful statistical testimony on the current state of women and children in Zimbabwe, “said Dr. Peter Salama the UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe. “It will assist the inclusive government and its partners in determining the priorities for action. Women and children should be at the centre of the development agenda moving forward.”

The MIMS builds on the traditional Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey which is carried out by UNICEF in over 60 countries to monitor the situation of children, women and other vulnerable groups as a measure of the countries’ progress toward national goals and global commitments. 

UNICEF provided technical support towards the government led survey, which gave an indication of Zimbabwe’s socio-economic status in relation to health, education, water and sanitation, access to other basic social services and provide an update on child and maternal mortality levels.

UNICEF video and high-resolution photography for media organizations is available at: http://www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Micaela Marques De Sousa, UNICEF Chief of Communication,
Tel + 263-91-2 124 268
E-mail: mmarques@unicef.org

Tsitsi Singizi, UNICEF Zimbabwe Communication Officer,
Tel + 263-91 2 943 915263 4 731840
E-mail: tsingizi@unicef.org




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