Zimbabwe is one of the many countries located in South Africa whose people suffer from malnutrition. An estimated one in four children are malnourished in Africa alone. In Zimbabwe, approximately 12,000 children suffer from malnutrition. A number of problems contribute to this lack of food, ranging from the politicization of food and lack of nutritional substance.
People need food in order to survive. The nutrients they get out of food keeps them healthy and helps their body fight various diseases. However, Zimbabweans find it hard to afford food and even water. A majority of those in the country are living on less than a dollar per day. Much of the diet in Zimbabwe consists of crops such as sorghum and millet. Although eating a grain-based diet can eliminate starvation, many key nutrients are still missing.
The politicization of food is also a big issue in Zimbabwe. It has been used to control the outcome of elections for a number of years. The current government is headed by Mugabe whose Zimbabwe African Nation Union – Patriotic Front denied food to the opposition in an effort to control the elections. This move forced Zimbabweans to buy food from neighbors who had small plots of land or from outside the country.
Things To Know About The Food And Nutrition Situation In Zimbabwe
- As a result of chronic malnutrition, close to 28% of children below five years of age are stunted or have heights that are too low for their age.
- Anemia is suffered by 56% of all children between the ages of six and 59 months – that is more than half of the children in the country.
- A person’s vulnerability to malnutrition is increased by HIV. Although the prevalence of HIV infection in the country has decreased in the past 10 years, it still affects about 15% of the adult population – that’s about 1.3 million people.
- 17.3% of children aged between six to 23 months get the recommended minimum acceptable diet for adequate nutrition.
- High fuel costs and climatic shocks are just a few of the reasons only 2.8 million of the 4.3 million hectares of arable land were cultivated during the 2014/2015 cropping season.
- Only 7.6% of farmers practice conservation agriculture in the country despite drought being the most common climatic threat to agricultural production.
- Zimbabwe ranks 156 out of 187 on the Global Hunger Index which measures the progress and failure of countries in the global fight against hunger making them a low-income and food-deficit country.
Nongovernmental organizations like the World Health Organization can help Zimbabwe by continuing to provide aid. Malnutrition is a serious issue which can lead to mortality. People need their meals to have the necessary nutrients so they can live healthier lives. It’s also clear that political problems in Zimbabwe will slow down efforts to stop malnutrition as well as other diseases affecting the nation. NGOs like WHO, UNICEF and Save the Children can continue to provide support but unless the bigger issues are solved, Zimbabwe will still continue to suffer.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.