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Views & Reviews Personal View

Zimbabwe’s health system is beginning to function again

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 04 August 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4211
  1. Kate Adams, general practitioner, Hackney, London
  1. kateadams{at}

    I was apprehensive as I returned to Zimbabwe in May this year. I had last visited in November 2008, a low point in Zimbabwe’s recent history, and wrote a personal view about my visit (BMJ 2008;337:a2637, doi:10.1136/bmj.a2637). At that time the country had hyperinflation, there was no food in the shops, people were hungry and depressed, and the health system was in a near state of collapse.

    The Government of National Unity, a coalition between Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, was formed in February 2009. Soon after, the Zimbabwean dollar was suspended after a period of hyperinflation, which became so out of control that at one point one South African rand was worth 50 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. No one could continue to trade under these extreme conditions, so adoption of the US dollar eased the crisis.

    Arriving in Bulawayo I immediately noticed more vehicles. Petrol is now available, and more trading is taking place. Communication is much easier now that Econet, a telecommunications …

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