Situation of children

Message from Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya – Representative



Background to Zimbabwe

UNICEF Zimbabwe/2011
© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2011

Zimbabwe has an estimated population of 13 million people and is ranked 172 out of 186 countries in the 2012 Human Development Index. Despite an estimated low unemployment rate of 10.7%, 94% of workers earn incomes below the consumption poverty line (2011 Labour Force Survey, ZimStat). In 2012, Gross Domestic Product projections were revised downwards from 11.9% to 4.0%, posing serious concerns for continued widespread multidimensional poverty and vulnerability. Persistent policy inconsistencies along political lines continue to militate against direct foreign investment.

Zimbabwe lags behind in most social sector expenditure targets, with just 8% allocated to health against a target of 15%, 0.4% to social protection against 4.5%, 0.4% for water against 1.5% (Ministry of Finance Budget Statement, 2011). These low allocations are aggravated by significant differentials between budget allocations and actual disbursements. For example, the Ministry of Education, Sport, Art and Culture received USD 6.2 million against an allocation of USD 77 million non-wage expenditures by the end of September 2012, representing 8% of budget release against the budget allocation, and 1.6% as a percentage of the total release of funds from Treasury from January-September 2012.

Comparisons of 2005/6 and 2010/11 data suggest that Zimbabwe is off-track in meeting the majority of 2015 MDGs. Maternal, neonatal and child mortality remain high:

  • Maternal mortality increased from 612 to 960 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2005 and 2010;
  • Infant mortality decreased from 60 (2005) to 57 (2010) per 1,000 live births, yet is still above the accepted threshold;
  • Under-five mortality increased from 83 deaths (2005) to 84 deaths per 1,000 live births (2010/11);
  • Deliveries by skilled birth attendants declined from 68.5% (2005) to 66.2% (2010).  Skilled delivery remains higher among educated, wealthier and urban women; 
  • Full immunization coverage increased from 52.6% to 64.5% between 2005 and 2010 but remains low (55%) among children from poorest households;  
  • The proportion of children 6-59 months who are stunted declined from 34.6% (2005) to 32.0% (2010/1).  Rural children are 1.2 times more likely to be stunted compared to urban children;
  • Despite a decline in HIV prevalence among adults aged 15-49 from 18.1% (2005) to 15.2% (2011), Zimbabwe still has an estimated 61,000 new infections annually, of which 9,000 are in children (Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 2011 Estimates).










UNICEF Zimbabwe


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