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Zimbabwe: Health Services

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the ability of the population of Zimbabwe to access health services; and if he will make a statement. (260275)

Years of political and economic mismanagement have eroded a once very fine health service in Zimbabwe. General health status indicators have fallen in the last few years and especially since the failed elections of 2008. The number of preventable deaths has increased significantly as public health services have been depleted. Rural transport networks have become expensive and the majority of Zimbabweans have found it increasingly difficult to access health services.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting the preservation of basic life-saving health services for the Zimbabwean people through the procurement and distribution of vital medicines and supplies, the retention of health workers, support for the cholera response and to the on-going, crippling HIV and AIDS epidemic. Altogether, DFID will contribute over £20 million this year to protect access to basic health services in Zimbabwe, as part of a £49 million programme to help meet the essential needs of the Zimbabwean people, in terms of food, medical and other assistance.