Widespread economic shocks and the drought, have left over 1.1 million children and women in need of humanitarian nutrition assistance. Approximately 95,000 children under age 5 are suffering from acute malnutrition, with the national global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence at 3.6 percent (ZimVAC rural 2019). Pockets of increased cases of malnutrition particularly in Epworth and Gutu and Mutare districts remain a concern. The advent of COVID-19 and its restrictions had socio-economic negative impacts limiting access to nutritious foods by families. The Pandemic has also negatively impacted the supply and demand of essential Health and nutrition services. According to recent global estimates, these effects would translate into a 15 percent increase in acute malnutrition (14,250 children being malnourished in Zimbabwe) resulting from increased food insecurity. Pellagra cases have been on the rise in the country with double the cases being recorded from Jan to June 2020 as compared to the same time in 2019.
The nutrition response focused on groups that are most vulnerable to malnutrition, including pregnant and lactating women, children under age 5, and people living with HIV in the 56 hardest-hit districts and three urban and peri-urban areas. 25 most affected districts were targeted for a more intensive nutrition response. Of these 25 districts, 17 were supported by (Implementing partners) IPs. Gutu and Bikita districts emerged as malnutrition hotspots and GOAL Zimbabwe moved in to support these districts. There are plans to support Matobo, Beitbridge and Mutare-Urban districts by other IPs to make the districts supported, 24.