With its fertile soils and natural resources, Zimbabwe has for long time been regarded as the bread basket of Africa and an economically robust country. The flourishing agricultural sector produced successful export goods such as tobacco, tea and flowers. At the end of the nineties, expropriations of land started a profound economic and social crisis. Hundreds of thousands of farm workers lost their jobs and therefore their livelihoods. Several years of hyper-inflation and unemployment plunged the country into great poverty. The worthless Zimbabwean dollar was replaced by foreign currencies and officially abolished in 2009. In November 2016, the government introduced bond notes to handle a crippling US-Dollar cash deficit.
From the Hopeful to the Sick Patient
Looking for a new life, around three million people immigrated to South Africa, including urgently needed doctors and specialists. The outbreak of a cholera epidemic in 2009 and continuing drought periods were particularly difficult. Harvests of basic food crops such as maize have got halved in the past few years and according to the World Food Program; more than one-third of the country's 13 million inhabitants suffer from chronic or acute malnutrition. This is not enough: Zimbabwe is one of the countries with the highest number of HIV infected people worldwide. Nearly 20 per cent of the population is affected. In spite of significantly improved treatment methods, tens of thousands of people die each year of AIDS.
Clean Water, Better Medical Care, more Food Security
Johanniter is active in Zimbabwe since 2002. Hospitals have been provided with medicines and medical consumables in the past, health stations have been improved and health care workers in rural regions have received trainings. Since 2009, the Johanniter and local partner organizations have carried out projects to improve the water supply in eastern Zimbabwe in order to fight widespread diseases caused by contaminated drinking water. Information about health hazards due to lack of hygiene has been provided through hygiene training for hospital staff and in communities. In order to improve food security, families have been guided and supported since 2015 in the creation of small gardens and improved nutritional habits due to an extended drought, which has aggravated hunger and malnutrition. In 2016, an additional cash transfer project helped particularly affected families to acquire basic and vital food items.