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Zimbabwe

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Endemic/epidemic disease | Sexual  violence | Healthcare exclusion

HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe has reduced from over 30 per cent at its peak in 2000 to around 15 per cent. Despite this success though, there are still gaps in treatment for some groups of the population.Doctors Without Borders (MSF) continues to support the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to achieve the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS[1]. In order to improve the management of large cohorts of stable patients, community-based models of care have been introduced in Gutu, Buhera, Chikomba, Epworth, Makoni, Mutare, Mutasa and Nyanga.

These models involve setting up community groups and people take it in turns to pick up the antiretroviral (ARV) drug refills. These groups have quickly grown and now include a total of more than 5,040 patients. MSF also continues to promote the use of targeted and routine viral load monitoring, testing a total of 58,434 patients in 2015.

In a new project in Mutare, MSF is supporting the MoHCC to roll out viral load monitoring and alternative drug refill models in Manicaland province.Paediatric and adolescent care is another focus of MSF’s HIV programme. This includes conducting ARV adherence counselling and support group sessions. MSF also provides second-line ARV therapy to patients whose first-line treatment has failed.

MSF has been providing treatment, based in the community rather than in hospital, where possible, to 31 patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Epworth, Buhera and Gutu. The HIV–TB programmes in Buhera and Nyanga were successfully handed over to the MoHCC in 2015.MSF is supporting the MoHCC in Epworth and Gutu to provide cervical cancer screening services.


Major, an MSF patient, completed his treatment for DR-TB in the summer of 2015.
Photo: Sylvie Ahrens/MSF

Sexual violence

MSF provided treatment and psychosocial support to victims of sexual violence at the Mbare and Epworth clinics. Teams also conducted health promotion activities to raise awareness of the importance of seeking medical care within 72 hours of abuse to prevent unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. A total of 2,325 consultations were carried in 2015 at the Mbare clinic alone and of these, 1,361 were new patients.

Psychiatric care

MSF continues to provide diagnosis, treatment and care to around 330 inmates with mental illness at Chikurubi maximum security prison and Chikurubi female prison in Harare. A total of 1,615 mental health consultations were carried out this year.In collaboration with the MoHCC, MSF started a new mental health project in Harare central hospital, offering treatment and support to patients in the psychiatric unit.

Water and sanitation

In 2015, more than 30,000 people benefited from MSF’s projects providing clean water and better sanitation in suburbs of Harare prone to outbreaks of disease such as typhoid which is caused by poor water supply and hygiene conditions. Through its programmes, MSF rehabilitated 20 boreholes, and collaborated with other partner organisations like Africa AHEAD to ensure that the communities knew how to protect water to avoid contamination both at the source and at home.

Patient story:

*Jabulani Simango, 21, from Epworth

“When I was eleven years old, I fell seriously ill and I was taken to hospital in a wheelbarrow. I was started on ARVs but I didn’t understand why I was taking them. My parents died when I was young and my other family members didn’t have much information about HIV and AIDS … I was advised to join support groups for young people living with HIV. I then realised that I was not alone. There were many people my age who were HIV positive and from that moment onwards, I started to adhere to my treatment. MSF used to visit me at home to check if I was taking my medication consistently and in a proper way. After a while, my condition began to improve. When I showed signs of recovering, my family members began to accept me and my status. They began to realise that being HIV positive is not the end of one’s life.”

*Name has been changed

[1] By 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained ARV treatment, and 90 per cent of all people receiving ARVs will have viral suppression

No. staff in 2015: 362 | Expenditure: €10.4 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 2000