UNICEF Zimbabwe Situation Report 10 - 29 Jan 2003


  • UN Special Envoys Visit Zimbabwe

  • Cholera cases continue to increase

  • Malaria cases increase

  • Planning for the National Nutrition Survey almost complete

  • Local journalists visit Supplementary Feeding Centre and Water and Sanitation projects


Cholera: The cholera situation in the country is still uncertain with more districts reporting sporadic cases. The national cumulative figures as of 20thJanuary 2003 are 1,229 cases and 41 deaths (CFR - 3.3 per cent). In Matabeleland South province, 596 cumulative cases and 16 deaths (CFR - 2.6 per cent) have been reported in Beitbridge District as of 20thJanuary 2003. A further five cases have been reported in Buhera District in Manicaland Province. The high number of institutional deaths is of particular concern. It appears that cases are brought to treatment centres late. Greater community health and hygiene education efforts are needed.

Malaria: Information from the Weekly Surveillance reports indicates a substantial increase in clinical cases during the second week of January. Of note is a 90 per cent increase in Mashonaland Central province, with the highest increases reported in Mt. Darwin and Rushinga districts, while Mutasa district in Manicaland reported a 38 per cent increase during the same period. In addition to the procurement of 17,200 Insecticide Treated Nets, UNICEF is working with partners on how best to further contribute to the Roll Back Malaria initiative.

EPI: Several meetings have been held this month among officers from UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) in pursuit of solutions to the vaccine and gas shortage in the country. Supplies of some of the antigens, namely BCG and DPT- Hep B, have actually run out at national level. The following developments have occurred up to date:

  • Gas procurement for the whole year in progress and could be available at provincial level in two weeks time;

  • Money from the UK National Committee totalling US$535,000 arrived on January 29th. It was immediately utilized for the procurement of BCG stocks to last for 8 months, and Hep B monovalent and DPT vaccine stocks to last for six months. Possibility of funding of US$380,000 from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) through WHO, for the procurement of more BCG vaccine;

  • MOHCW (Ministry of Health and Child Welfare) still to decide on utilization of available Global Alliance Vaccine Initative (GAVI) funds (US$320,000) for Immunization Service Strengthening (ISS).


UNICEF support to cholera-affected districts has seen a significant reduction in the number of new cases being reported. In Zaka District, where the bulk of the efforts have been made, the last cases were reported on 16thDecember 2002. With support from UNICEF, hygiene education is being intensified. So far 1,000 copies of the Participatory Health and Hygiene Education (PHHE) Field Guide have been produced and will be distributed throughout the country to assist extension workers in their hygiene education activities.

  • The rehabilitation of 46 boreholes, undertaken in partnership with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (a para-statal organization) has commenced in Tsholotsho District. During the period under review, seven boreholes were cleaned out. A joint monitoring and support visit involving the National Action Committee and UNICEF is planned for next week.

  • A WES Working Group meeting was held on 24th January 2003. Among the issues agreed upon were the need for a rapid needs reassessment in April, the need for accelerating the humanitarian response, and the importance of organizing a one-day workshop on SPHERE Standards for all stakeholders.

  • Progress in the Water and Sanitation Project on Improving Livelihoods of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in 4 districts of Buhera, Mt. Darwin, Bulilimamangwe and Gokwe North, continues with a total of 270 latrine builders trained, 191 Improved Ventilated Pit latrines constructed, and 2 shallow wells protected so far. All these facilities are specifically meant to directly benefit orphans and other vulnerable children.


The Nutrition section has been planning the National Nutrition Survey to be conducted during February. The survey tool will be field-tested during the National Training on 31 Jan, and adapted before finalization on 1 Feb. The questionnaire includes the following topics:

  • Child Nutritional Status

  • Crude Mortality and Under 5 Mortality

  • Child Morbidity

  • EPI coverage including Tetanus Toxoid for Mothers

  • General Food Distribution and Child Supplementary Feeding Programme Coverage Breastfeeding Practices

  • Orphans

Three teams in each district will conduct the survey. NGOs and UN agencies are participating in the fieldwork by contributing enumerators for the district teams. Equipment & Resources are currently being mobilized through the government, MoHCW, UN agencies, and NGOs.

Monitoring & Supervision: The national training of trainers will be facilitated by many of the members of the Technical Task Force which is made up of MoHCW, EPI (Expanded Programme on Immunisation), UN agencies and an NGO representative.

Data collection/Field work: There will be both national and provincial monitoring teams.

  • The national teams will consist of members of the Technical Task Force and facilitators from the National Training. Four national teams will each cover 2-3 provinces to monitor the fieldwork.

  • Provincial monitoring teams will consist of the participants of the National Training and they will monitor the fieldwork within their province. It is hoped that UN agencies and NGOs will be able to provide at least one member for each provincial monitoring.

Supplementary Feeding: The Johannesburg office has confirmed that by Thursday 29th, a shipment of 410 tonnes of Unimix will be on its way to Zimbabwe for use in the Supplementary Feeding programme.


Meetings were held with the coordinating counterparts in the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MoESC) to complete program plans and priorities for 2003.

A coordination meeting was held with PG Industries to obtain a current picture of the school reconstruction project. Phase 1 of the project is 90 per cent completed, although the company reported that there were no recent monitoring visits due to the lack of fuel. Options to assist in this area will be include joint UNICEF/PG field visits.


The OVC steering committee is meeting on a bi-weekly basis. Preliminary dates are set for a national OVC stakeholders meeting to be held on March 25-29. The committee is chaired by the Ministry of Public Works, Labour and Social Welfare (MPWLSW). UNICEF is providing the secretariat. Representatives of the steering committee are MPWLSW, National Aids Commission (NAC), Catholic Releif Services (CRS), USAID, Red Cross, Fact Mutare and UNICEF. So far, commitments made as a follow up to the Namibia OCV workshop are being respected and followed up.

Zero Tolerance Campaign on Child Abuse

UNICEF facilitated a workshop for Plan International's provincial managers from 14-17 January. Issues that were brought to light by the participants were the severe economic decline and lack of employment as exacerbating child abuse and early child-bride marriages.

The Campaign continues and planning is taking place regularly in the Zero Tolerance Steering Group to monitor the impact of the ongoing awareness raising campaign, to enhance communities' capacities to monitor and report on cases of abuse and to further strengthen mechanisms for care and support of victims of abuse.


In an effort to provide technical support to partners in the current humanitarian crisis, orientation on the Human Rights Approach to Programming and the Community Capacity Development process (HRAP/CCD) was given to Child Welfare Forum Coordinators and Social Services Coordinators from eight rural and urban councils - which are supported by Save the Children Norway. The organization has adopted the HRAP/CCD approach in their development activities in Zimbabwe and UNICEF decided to strengthen the partnership within the context of the humanitarian crisis.

Sentinel: Fieldwork for the Sentinel Surveillance had been completed - in which 326 enumeration and about 4000 households were randomly sampled. The research instruments await arrival from all the provinces to be processed.


The period under review was marked by the visit to Zimbabwe of the two Special Envoys: James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme; and Stephen Lewis, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for HIV/AIDS in Africa. The visitors engaged in discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe and with the UN system in Zimbabwe, with the full participation of UNICEF. The envoys were accompanied by members of the international media.

- Resulting from this trip, a media visit to Mt Darwin was organized for 12 local journalists to observe the feeding scheme for children under the age of 5, and water and sanitation projects in the area. Media output resulting from the visit is being monitored.

- An earlier visit to Mt Darwin was organized for SABC from 14 to 15th of January. This visit also focused on child supplementary feeding by UNICEF and water and sanitation activities for OVC.


On Monday 27, 2003 the UNICEF Programme Coordinator had a meeting with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to discuss wide-ranging issues, including possible support for EPI, HIV/AIDS and Nutrition activities. It was agreed that UNICEF will prepare short proposals targeting some CIDA funds before the end of their financial year (March 2003), and longer-term proposals for the new financial year focusing on health-related humanitarian concerns.