Zimbabwe

Humanitarian Action for Children 2019 - Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe

During the second half of 2018, Zimbabwe experienced a significant increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance due to outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases, rising food insecurity and multiple hydro-meteorological hazards, including drought and flooding. Since September 2018, the country has been experiencing a new cholera outbreak in Harare and 17 other districts, with more than 10,000 cases reported as of 9 November.
Estimates suggest that 1 million people are at risk of cholera nationally, and 200,000 people are at risk in the urban outbreak epicentre.

In addition, the food security situation is deteriorating ahead of the peak hunger season.
The start of the 2018-2019 rainy season is delayed and rains remain erratic, with rainfall levels below the normal long-term average across most of the country. Towards the end of 2018, poor rainfall and associated impacts have left 2.4 million people food insecure, including 1.2 million children. Food insecurity is exacerbating the effects of HIV for people living with the virus and hastening the progression of AIDS-related illnesses.

The deteriorating economic situation, coupled with food and nutrition insecurity, continues to increase the vulnerability of women and children in urban and rural Zimbabwe.

Humanitarian strategy

In response to the cholera outbreak and rising food insecurity, UNICEF and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care to provide lifesaving essential water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to affected children, focusing on the early detection of malnutrition, nutrition surveillance and access to timely health care.

UNICEF is also supporting preventive programming to prevent diarrhoeal diseases, including the provision of critical WASH services at the community level and in institutions such as schools and health facilities. UNICEF will reach crisis-affected children, adolescents and pregnant and lactating women on anti-retroviral therapy with enhanced treatment and prevention outreach services.

The existing social protection programme will be expanded and the provision of psychosocial support will be scaled up through child-friendly spaces, home visits, social support for kinship/foster care placement and documentation, tracing and reunification of orphans and unaccompanied and separated children. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will be supported to enhance coordination, improve data management and strengthen capacities for key WASH-in schools interventions. Communication for development will be mainstreamed in all programme sectors. UNICEF will continue to support sectoral coordination and leadership in the WASH, nutrition, education and child protection sectors.

Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had received US$3.5 million to scale up the cholera outbreak response.8 Over the course of the year, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health to conduct diarrhoea case management trainings for frontline health workers and provided essential medicines and supplies for cholera case management through the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe. The UNICEF humanitarian response used a two pronged approach, including preventing further cholera transmission in affected areas and supporting prevention and preparedness interventions in at-risk areas. In addition, UNICEF facilitated community- and facility-based WASH risk assessments, hygiene promotion interventions through interpersonal and mass communication channels, distribution of hygiene kits, the provision of safe water, water quality monitoring and emergency sanitation services at cholera treatment centres. UNICEF also supported the availability of nutrition commodities in cholera treatment centres and intends to scale up active screening in affected and at-risk communities. Work is ongoing to build the capacities of community-based child protection cadres and mainstream child protection into other sectors, in line with the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action