HIV/AIDS Has Significantly Weakened Zimbabwe’s Economy, Study Finds
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has significantly weakened Zimbabwe's economy, hindering economic growth from 1994 to 2003 by 13.3%, according to a study by the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit, New Ziana/ANDNetwork.com reports. University of Zimbabwe lecturer Innocent Matshe, who presented the study at a one-day workshop, said the disease mostly is affecting disposable incomes for institutions and households. According to the study, HIV/AIDS is eroding the country's workforce -- composed of people ages 15 to 49 -- as well as national savings and investments, which now have to be spent on controlling the disease. In addition, the epidemic is fueling food insecurity by decreasing production and productivity, the study finds. Minister of Health and Child Welfare David Parirenyatwa, who opened the workshop, said HIV/AIDS is not just a health issue but also a socioeconomic issue that requires a multisectoral approach. He also said the government aims to have 40,000 more people on antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2006 if the country receives more money from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. There are 26,000 people receiving antiretrovirals in Zimbabwe, New Ziana/ANDNetwork.com reports. Also speaking at the workshop, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Samuel Undenge called on the private sector to supplement the government's efforts to control the disease by establishing workplace policies on HIV/AIDS and implementing effective HIV/AIDS prevention programs (New Ziana/ANDNetwork.com, 6/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.