3 Ways the UN is Helping Zimbabwe Provide Better Health Care For AllThe country of Zimbabwe has a poverty index of approximately 38%, making it one of Africa’s most impoverished countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse, with the virus disproportionately impacting the impoverished. The novel coronavirus is threatening Zimbabwe’s already fragile health care system, which has been afflicted by past bouts of HIV and AIDS. The United Nations is working closely with the World Health Organization to educate the citizens of Zimbabwe on COVID-19 and ensure that the country’s residents follow the most up-to-date safety guidelines.

The COVID-19 relief and prevention efforts are representative of a small part of Zimbabwe’s ongoing effort to better its health care. The rural-urban divide marked by the rich-poor split has grown largely along the lines of access to health care and proper medical needs. As such, Zimbabwe and humanitarian organizations, such as the United Nations, are working on ways to better health care for all citizens in Zimbabwe.

3 Ways the UN Helps to Achieve Better Health Care for All

  1. Fighting Misinformation with Awareness. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, combating misinformation has become a top priority. The U.N. is working carefully to connect local journalists with government officials to ensure that people are well educated and have relevant information. In addition, the U.N. is strongly advocating for more broadcast programs geared toward the elderly, disabled and impoverished as these demographics are most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus and any other pertinent diseases. In keeping with this strategy, the U.N. brought together 55 Zimbabwe news outlet representatives and journalists to create a strategy to effectively distribute public health information. The move is a significant step toward reaching the country’s 14 million residents.
  2. Creating Role Models. Wearing masks and exercising sanitation practices, such as handwashing, are a few of the best ways to fight the spread of any disease. The U.N. aid groups encourage Zimbabwe’s news outlets to highlight these simple disease-prevention methods in a variety of ways. Firstly, journalists receive protective gear from employers and provide protective equipment to interviewees to set an example for their viewers on television. Additionally, older children who are properly educated in handwashing techniques subsequently teach their peers in village societies. These methods collectively reduce strain on Zimbabwe’s hospital system, which many doctors argue is desperately in need of reform. Currently, the government of Zimbabwe has shown an unwillingness to increase services, staff pay or important funding for doctors. However, recent strikes by health care workers have turned the tide against government inaction and encouraged intervention.
  3. Healing through Music. Amid isolation in the time of COVID-19 and lockdowns, more people are looking to music to alleviate their anxieties. Zimbabwean performers have organized virtual concerts through U.N. support to provide listeners with relief from the struggles of COVID-19. The U.N. Communications Group oversees these events and plays a large role in their proper functioning. The Communications Group brings together more than 25 U.N. agencies in Zimbabwe. The message these music groups send has a specific purpose as well. They encircle the cause of ending the pandemic as quickly and effectively as possible while bolstering a sense of national unity.

Looking Ahead

With new government intervention to increase aid for public health and the tireless work of the United Nations, Zimbabwe’s health care system is slowly improving. The COVID-19 pandemic has only strengthened the resolve of the country to better health care for all. By fighting misinformation, elevating role models and spreading unity through love and music, Zimbabwe shows how simple initiatives can lead to better living standards and improved national health.

– Mihir Gokhale
Photo: Flickr