Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report Oct 2004


Preparation for 2004/05 Agricultural Season: Main Challenges and Constraints

A few weeks before the start of the 2004/05 season, the availability of agricultural inputs is still uncertain. Prospects of a good season are dampened by the difficulty to access agricultural inputs by most farmers.

The first rains for the 2004/05 agricultural season fell during the second week of October while the 2003/04 agricultural season began around the middle of October, but experienced a dry spell up to the mid November. A pre-season forecast, for the 2004/2005 season issued by the Meteorological Services Department indicates that there are chances of normal to above normal rainfall during the first half of the season and normal to below normal during the second half of the season. The Department of Meteorological Services said the wet spell does not signal the start of the season, the season is expected to start in November, which gives the farmers, Government and relief agencies only two weeks to access and distribute agricultural inputs.

A parliamentary committee probing the shortages of inputs was told that there is not enough maize seed in the country to meet the new demand of 100,000Mt of maize seed, a significant increase from approximately 40,000 Mt maize seed used last year basing on the approximately 1.5 million Ha of maize area planted. The government issued a request to local companies to supply 75,000 Mt of maize seeds, 300 Mt of groundnuts, 30,000 Mt of Soya Beans and 200 Mt of Sorghum. In submissions to the parliamentary committee, seed houses confirmed that they will deliver 32,000 Mt of maize seed to the government, 17,000Mt of which was produced locally and 15, 000 Mt will be imported. Seeds being delivered to the government will be exclusively distributed through the Grain Marketing Board and ARDA Although seed may be available in the Southern African Region and also the foreign currency to import is made available, the logistics of moving high volumes of seed will likely result in a shortage of seed during the first half of the season. The country is also experiencing shortages of Ammonium Nitrate (AN) fertiliser which is critical for maize production. The fertiliser industry which has a capacity to produce 20 000 Mt of AN per month, is not operating at full capacity due to foreign currency shortages. The Government has placed an order for 40, 000 Mt of AN fertiliser and 25,000Mt of compound fertiliser. Therefore most of the fertiliser which will be produced by the local industry will be distributed through government designated official distribution channels. The fertiliser industry indicated that 30, 000 Mt of AN fertiliser will be imported to complement local stocks. Humanitarian organisations which are planning to distribute fertiliser this year will have to import fertilizer.

Tillage capacity is also another major c hallenge. Reports indicate that there are less that 10 000 tractors in the whole country owned by farmers, private companies and organisations such as the District Development Fund and the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA). The reports a lso indicate that a total of 440 000 hectares has been prepared for planting to date, which is 10% of the envisaged maize area and is not including land preparation for other crops (e. g. tobacco, paprika, cotton).

A study by ICRISAT in 2004 noted that a series of droughts, economic problems and the incidence of HIV/AIDS, have led to a decline in the proportion of smallholders who own draught teams. Between 35 to 66 percent of the households in the sampled districts did not own at least two draught animals. Therefore this year most communal farmers will have to be supported by the District Development Fund (DDF) or prepare their land by hands. However most of the smallholder farmers will not be able to access tillage due to tractor shortage and the high costs being charged by DDF amounting to ZW$327 000/Ha, up from ZW32 000/Ha last year. The constrained tillage capacity will negatively impact cropping plans for the 2004/05 agricultural season.

Second National Poverty Assessment on Track

During a site visit to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on 29 September 2004, Mr. S.G. Mhishi, Acting Permanent Secretary, showed the progress of the second national Poverty Assessment Study Survey (PASS II) to UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Bernard Mokam, Dr. Juan J. Ortiz-Iruri of UNICEF, Mrs. Ratidzai Ndlovu of UNFPA and other guests.

Confronted with the fact that the poverty profile emanating from the 1995 national poverty assessment had to a great extent become outdated, Government along with civil society organisations, research institutions, UNDP and other UN Agencies all agreed that it was high time for a follow-up assessment.

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is responsible for conducting the survey with technical assistance from the Central Statistical Office. UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNIFEM provide financial as well as technical support to the project.

PASS II includes the largest household survey ever carried out in Zimbabwe so far with almost 32,000 households interviewed in all districts. Some of the objectives of the survey included the following:

- Assessing the various dimensions of human and income poverty in Zimbabwe

- Enhance national capacity to assess and monitor human and income poverty

- Provide key inputs for a National Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The survey also was conducted to assess the geographical and sectoral distribution of poverty as well as the access to public social services.

Another interesting dimension of the analysis will be finding out the linkages between poverty, HIV and AIDS, gender, food security, orphans and vulnerable children as well as the environment. Information was collected from homeless adults and children, communities, schools and health institutions around the country.

Data entry and verification is currently proceeding according to schedule. Overall data processing is expected to be completed by December 2004.

The PASS II data will be thoroughly analysed and used as a major input into a National Poverty Reduction Strategy that the Government is planning to formulate through a broad national participatory process involving all key stakeholders, as was done with the MDG reporting process.

Funding of Humanitarian Priorities for 2004 in Zimbabwe

The Consolidated Appeal Process, (CAP) is a joint effort between the Government, and the UN to mobilize funds for humanitarian assistance. The CAP was originally planned to run from July 2003 to June 2004. During the context analysis and review, done in January 2004, it became apparent that there was need to extend it for a further six months to the end of 2004.

The funding proposals for all the prioritized sectors (Nutrition and targeted feeding, Education, Health, Child protection, HIV/Aids, The Consolidated Appeal Process, (CAP) is a joint effort between the Government, and the UN to mobilize funds for humanitarian assistance. The CAP was originally planned to run from July 2003 to June 2004. During the context analysis and review, done in January 2004, it became apparent that there was need to extend it for a further six months to the end of 2004.

The funding proposals for all the prioritized sectors (Nutrition and targeted feeding, Education, Health, Child protection, HIV/Aids, Water and sanitation, Agriculture, Mobile and Vulnerable populations, and Coordination) were US$ 95,449,452.

Donors continue to respond generously in providing assistance in the above priori ties including beyond the life of the CAP.

The current contributions specifically for 2004 add up to US$42,370,782, excluding funding committed by donors for multi year support, beyond 2004, amounting to US$51,067,909, therefore all together totalling US$ 93,438,691.

It is recognized by the UN Country Team that in order to further mitigate the impact of the current socio-economic conditions at household level, United Nations will need to work with the Government in the coming year of 2005, in supporting social protection mechanisms, and in the strengthening of livelihoods at household level. This will facilitate the necessary transition from humanitarian assistance-dependency to longer term growth.

The UN RR Leaves Harare

Mr Victor Angelo who was accredited to Zimbabwe as the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator as well as the UNDP Resident Representative from September 2000 to October 2004 left the country at the end of his tour of duty. He has been promoted to the post of Assistant Secretary General in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Sierra Leone. Mr Angelo expressed his profound gratitude and appreciation to the cooperation and support he received from all the different stakeholders he interacted with. He also applauded the excellent relations that existed between his office and the government of Zimbabwe, the Diplomatic Corps, NGOs, the private sector and the UN family.

Dr Festo Kavishe the UNICEF Country Resident Representative will be the acting UN Resident Representative while Mr Bernard Mokam will be the acting UNDP Resident Representative until Victor’s replacement is appointed.

National Malaria Conference: Scaling Up Malaria Control towards Achieving Abuja

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, and the partners from Roll Back Malaria campaign, held a national meeting from the 6-10th September in Nyanga. The conference brought stakeholders together to discuss plans to strengthen the roll back malaria campaign in the country. With 26 of the country’s 58 districts experiencing a high malaria burden and 42 out of 58 districts suffering from malaria, the meeting focused on district level problems and plans for action. The meeting focused on malaria control strategies that include vector control, case management, surveillance, health education,epidemic preparedness and malaria research. The challenges identified included the high attrition of experienced staff, difficulties in the health system and the increase of malaria and HIV co-infection rate further increasing the risk of mortality.

The priorities for case management were on more training on improved first line treatment protocol and drugs.

Discussion also focused on where Zimbabwe was in relation to achieving the Abuja targets set for 2005. Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) coverage remained low at less than 5 % and far below the 60% coverage target. The challenges for ITN coverage remained the high cost of re-treatment which is $15,000, as well as the cost of the nets which range from $35,000 to $120,000, and the lack of availability, especially in remote areas. In addition, there was low utilization rate in hot and humid malaria areas, indicating the need for more education.

With the Global Fund allocation for malaria of $5,300,000 for 2004 - 2005, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has already procured 40 motor bikes for outreach, 12 trucks, 90,000 ITN nets, 790 X pert sprayers and 86 spare kits and 9,216 rapid test kits. The funding will also be used to increase the human resources capacity to support the malaria control programme.

The report notes that the 4th round proposal for malaria had been unsuccessful and there has been delay in disbursement of the 2nd tranch of the first round funds. With an increased allocation to health now at 14 percent, DDT has been procured as well as spare parts for pumps. There has also been increased nurse training as well as training of spray men in order to strengthen the health response. DTT has been reintroduced in vector control efforts in light of the increased cost of pyrethrioid insecticides, which will only be used in tobacco growing areas. More work need to be done on vector identification and to build local capacity to monitor different species and manage DDT spraying.

It was also agreed that community involvement and education was crucial. IEC materials that emphasises DDT will be developed and distributed to all target districts and communities. In addition, a pre-season malaria control advocacy campaign is to be carried out in all the target districts.

The strategy priorities for 2004 -2005 will be support and supervision for IRHS, scale up net coverage, to increase case management training, to strengthen community management of malaria, improve drug buffer stock, maintain surveillance and strengthen partnership.

Health Update

Cholera

Cholera has resurfaced in Mola area, Kariba district of Mashonaland West. Four cases have been reported during week 42. Mashonaland West province has been experiencing sporadic cases of cholera for the past two years with the highest fatality being recorded in 2003 when more than 800 cases were reported within two months.

Cumulative cases now stand at 124 with 9 deaths giving a Case Fata lity Rate of 7.3%. Mola area in Kariba district is high on the agenda of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to provide clean water and sanitation facilities. The ministry is working closely with other organizations particularly Save the Children UK and World Health Organisation to promote mitigation measures particularly health education and construction of blair toilets.

Anthrax

Three confirmed cases of human anthrax were reported from Zaka district of Masvingo Province- see map below. Gokwe South in Midlands reported 21 cases while Buhera in Manicaland province reported 10 cases of animal anthrax. Cumulative figures are now 169 cases with no deaths.

Other cases

Cases of common diarrhoea continue to be high with 3979 cases and 12 deaths for week 42 compared to 3855 and 7 deaths for week 40. Mashonaland West with 664 reported most of the cases. The highest number of deaths was reported from Bindura district in Mashonaland East with 5. Other centres that recorded deaths include Chimanimani distr ict (2), Parirenyatwa Hospital (2), Chitungwiza General (2) and Kadoma district (1) Cumulative figures for diarrhoea are now 25 195 cases and 28 deaths.

Cases of dog bites continue to be high with 120 cases reported for week 42 and 98 for week 43. Manicaland province reported the largest number of dog bites for week 43 with 28ncases. One death from rabies was reported by Harare Central Hospital. The victim was a five year old beaten by an unvaccinated dog in Rusape on 1 October 2004 and died in Harare after being admitted at Harare Central Hospital and transferred to Beatrice Road Infectious Disease on 29 October 2004.

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is encouraging Health officials through out the country to tighten the criteria for administration of rabies vaccine to dog bites victims. District and health facilities should administer vaccines to highly deserving cases only. Zoonotic committees at provincial and district levels are urged to liaise with the veterinary services to increase vaccination coverage of dogs.

Contributions from GoZ, NGOs, International Organizations, or private sector groups are welcome.

Articles for publication in the next Situation Report should be submitted by 25 November 2004 to our office at the email address: Zimrelief.info@undp.org