Saturday, December 24, 2005

zim child death rate highest in the world

(Story from March, before Famine became acute)

Acknowledging that donors were reluctant to give significant funds to Zimbabwe, because of the allegations of corruption and state torture, she said: "Look for other ways to make a political point, but don't take it out on Zimbabwe's children, they are the ones who are suffering."

In addition to the rising rate of child deaths, Zimbabwe has a million children - one in five - orphaned by Aids.

In 1990 it had one of Africa's best healthcare systems. But in recent years the government has reduced the health and education budgets and channelled the funds to the army and its internal security network, the central intelligence organisation.

The big donors have declined to fund its healthcare programmes, in contrast to their generous funding of neighbouring countries.

The three major Aids donors - the US, the World Bank and the Global Fund - have largely shunned Zimbabwe.

"In southern Africa, the area most affected by Aids, the average donor spending per HIV-infected person is $74 (£38). In Zimbabwe the amount is just $4," Ms Bellamy said.

The collapse of Zimbabwe's health was also highlighted last week by Africa Fighting Malaria, which came to different conclusions.

Rather than calling for increased funds which the government might divert to political ends, it urged President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and other regional leaders to encourage Mr Mugabe to reform....

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