Zimbabwe was once considered the crown jewel of Africa, with rich mineral exports and productive farming. However, participation in the Congo war, rampant inflation and a lack of foreign investment has left the landlocked Southern African country economically ravaged. 1 Today, Zimbabwe’s health care system is in a state of collapse, unable to provide basic health services or protect its people from ongoing epidemics and sporadic outbreaks of infectious disease.
PSI/Zimbabwe (PSI/Z) began in 1996 in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW) to prevent HIV and AIDS, control malaria and improve family planning practices. Its 280 employees promote and provide testing and counseling services and distribute Protector Plus male condoms, Care female condoms, long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) and multiple contraceptive products.
PSI/Z has expanded its programs several times, including:
Child Survival, Diarrheal Disease, HIV, Malaria, Reproductive Health
PSI/Zimbabwe estimates that in 2010, its products and services helped avert:
Since 2004, PSI/Z has partnered with MOHCW and received support from UNICEF and The Global Fund Round to distribute more than 450,000 LLINs to pregnant mothers, children under the age of 5 and PLHIV in high malaria districts. In 2009, PSI/Z is distributing 595,500 LLINs through district hospitals, rural health centers, antenatal clinics and other targeted sites. Peer education helps to promote correct and consistent net use.
The Royal Netherlands Embassy helps fund PSI/Z’s training for nurse counselors to integrate family planning (FP) with T&C and PTSS. PSI/Z currently works with the MOHCW and other local partners to expand the referral network for T&C and PTSS clients needing FP services. PSI/Z also distributes long-term (Jadelle and Petogen) and emergency contraceptives (Postinor2) through public- and private-sector providers. A new integrated communication strategy promotes dual protection – both condoms and another modern FP method – among women ages 15 to 29, HIV-positive women, and HIV-positive/discordant couples.
With DFID support, PSI procured 2 million oral rehydration (ORS) sachets for public health facilities and cholera treatment centers across the country. ORS is part of a nationwide effort to reduce morbidity and mortality due to diarrheal diseases.
In response to the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, PSI launched and distributed more than 20 million household water treatment tablets in 2008. It also developed mass media and interpersonal communications to promote hygienic practices and home-based water treatment. In 2009, PSI distributed 20 million water treatment tablets and more than 1 million PUR sachets with support from UNICEF, USAID, DFID, P&G, AmeriCares and The Coca Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF). Also in 2009, PSI introduced WaterGuard water treatment solution with USAID support.
PSI/Zimbabwe takes several approaches toward helping empower Zimbabwean people to help curb the spread of HIV:
PSI/Z also develops integrated campaigns to address HIV-related stigma/discrimination, concurrent sexual partnerships, TB and HIV co-infection, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), ART and Provider Initiated Testing & Counseling (PITC). PSI/Z works with local advertising agencies and community-based organizations to develop and implement mass media campaigns that are culturally appropriate and relevant to the target populations.
Sexually active men and women, high risk populations like migrant labor, truck drivers and commercial sex workers.