Zimbabwe’s health system is suffering from decades of economic decline, an exodus of skilled workers, and a growing number of extreme weather events. SolidarMed works to ensure better access to quality healthcare for rural areas in the south-east of the country.
Zimbabwe’s already fragile health system faces a major challenge: infectious diseases such as HIV are still widespread while non-communicable diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure are on the rise. Training for health workers, better access to medicines, and greater public awareness are urgently needed.
Zimbabwe in Numbers
458 deaths per 100,000 live births
Under-5 mortality rate
54 deaths per 1,000 live births
HIV prevalence in the adult population
11.6% (more than 1 in 9 is HIV-positive)
Doctors per 10,000 population
2 (Switzerland: 44)
Zimbabwe in Numbers
SolidarMed in Zimbabwe
SolidarMed helps the health authorities in the Masvingo Province in the south-east of the country tackle the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The focus is on patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and oral diseases such as tooth decay, and on the sexual and mental health of adolescents.
Treating non-communicable diseases
Around a third of deaths in Zimbabwe can already be attributed to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. SolidarMed supports hospitals and healthcare facilities in diagnosing these diseases and offering appropriate treatment. This also includes treating patients with advanced cardiovascular disease and tackling diabetes complications such as eye damage. SolidarMed also facilitates dental check-ups and treatment, for example for tooth decay.
Promoting adolescent health
Health services are hardly ever geared to the needs of adolescents. Cultural taboos also mean that people rarely talk about sexuality and contraception or mental health disorders. SolidarMed therefore champions the physical health and sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents. The aim is to allow them to lead healthy and empowered lives and reach their full potential.
Increasing the survival chances of orphaned babies
To improve the survival chances of babies whose mothers have died, SolidarMed helps needy families pay for and source formula milk for the first six months. Many families cannot afford formula and switch instead to cow’s or sheep’s milk, which are dangerous to infant health. An additional project goal is early diagnosis of HIV-positive infants and referral for treatment. Maternal deaths are also recorded.
Laura Ruckstuhl PhD
Tel. +41 41 310 66 60