Many 2012). Additionally, African countries are faced

Many problems in Africa are caused by the
fact that it has the highest population growth. Since 1960, the population has
doubled, and African countries have been ranked top regarding the fertility
rate in the world as well as the population growth (United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 2012).
Additionally, African countries are faced with a social and economic situation
that is very alarming. One of the devastating problems is the persistent poor
health. Following the poor health, Africans have a lower life expectancy and
experience high mortality rate because of the many diseases and illnesses that
are endemic in the region. (sciencedirect.com) (Focusing sub-Sahara, this paper
will focus on poverty and healthcare in Zimbabwe addressing its effects on the
population and the economy (Ali, Thorbecke, & Shimelis, 2000).
From a historical background, poverty is related to poor healthcare in
Zimbabwe. The medical facilities have experienced shortages of drugs although
currently, the country is picking concerning the stocking of modern drugs. Some
of the factors contributing to poor healthcare are the lack of trained staffs
where some of the qualified health professionals left the country for green
pastures in other countries that offered them better working conditions and
salaries. The most prevalent diseases that have taken many lives include
HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Cholera (Callaghan, Ford, & Schneider, 2010).
This country also faces challenges regarding food shortages that have
contributed to malnutrition-related diseases. One of the factors that have
contributed to poverty and the poor economy in Zimbabwe is colonialism. This
country was colonized by the British, and after president Robert Mugabe won the
national elections in 1980, crises of land redistribution started.  The problem of land redistribution caused
stress thus affecting agriculture, and eventually economy inflation. The
economic problem since then was the major cause of poverty in Zimbabwe. Poverty
and healthcare issues have prevented Africa from prospering as a country in
ways that can be detrimental.

Healthcare

Many issues are facing Zimbabwe since
independence and have been a challenge to the country because of its poor
economy (Taderera, Hendricks, &
Pillay, 2016). This country, like other African countries, lacks
specialized health professionals. In Zimbabwe, its health professional has
flown to other countries for better employment and working condition. The poor
government has been able to sustain their salaries. Another health issue
associated with poverty and low economic status is the use of traditional
healer who provides both spiritual and medicinal care (Maroyi,
2013).
The citizens also rely on herbal remedies in the treatment of minor ailments as
well as other serious illnesses such as psychological and psychiatric problems.
In 2000-2010, Zimbabwe was found to have fewer than two doctors for every
10,000 citizens by world health organization (Taderera,
Hendricks, & Pillay, 2016). According to a recent report, the
country is experiencing short of midwives rendering the position vacant for
many positions in the public sectors. This country has a poor environmental
condition regarding is healthcare since many of its citizens are dying of
cholera, malaria, and other hygiene-related diseases.

Environmental conditions

 Regarding its environmental conditions, water
pollutions is a big issue whereby the state of water and its cleanliness is at
its lowest (Ngure et al., 2013).
In Zimbabwe, water has become life-threatening following the high rate of
contamination from the industrial works. Other diseases concerning the poor
condition of water in this country include typhoid, salmonella, giardiasis,
cholera, and hepatitis infections. Another devastating condition is the air
pollution that has increased due to poor waste management and industrial
pollution. Currently, Zimbabwe is among the developing countries hence the
industrial operations cannot control and manage its waste. This country has a
large inflation of second-hand cars which do not meet the standard emission rates
thus leading to air pollution. Back on waste management, this country has a
reluctant government that has failed in providing proper and secure waste
disposal sites thus making difficult to obtain clean water. Lack of clean water
for the majority population has increased the risk of infections. The
unhygienic conditions have rendered the country unsuitable for normal citizens
to survive as well as children (Ngure et al., 2013).

Financial support

 Since more people are jobless or working in
the informal economy, the country’s tax has dwindled making the government
struggle to pay salaries and funding of public programmes. Health has also been
underfunded thus making it difficult or the ministry to meet the demand of its
citizens. Again, a larger part of the budget money allocated to the public
sector comes from the donor community through the Health Transition Fund (HTF).
HTF is a multi-donor pool established in 2011 and is managed by the UN Children’s
Fund UNICEF) (Financialgazette.co.zw, 2017). The donations come from
the European Union countries as well as the UN agencies. The aim of the donors
is to improve the health status of this country by improving nutrition,
maternal and child health, and availability of essential drugs, vaccines, and
medical equipment. From 2003 to 2014, Zimbabwe was funded more than $707
million by global fund specifically to address Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Additional grants are also allocated to fight the diseases (Financialgazette.co.zw,
2017).

Without the availability of donor
community, Zimbabwe public health could have collapsed because most of the
health programmes are managed using the donor funds. Lack of funds had earlier
on contributed to the poor delivery of health services. Patients are left to
die because of unavailability of affordable care services. Additionally, the
healthcare sector was also faced with corruption including theft of drugs and
hospitals equipment. Financial support has, therefore, has managed the Zimbabwe
healthcare up to date.

Lack of necessities

 To
have a stable and able healthcare system, the necessities must be at hand or
readily available. In Zimbabwe, the healthcare system lacks some necessities
including clean water, health care professionals, training facilities, health
insurance, and capital to fund the hospitals (Zimhealth.org,
2017). As a problem in African countries, Zimbabwe is among the
countries that cannot afford enough capital to fund processing clean water for
domestic use. Clean water is a necessity for stable health care system. Another
key necessity that has found the healthcare system in a struggling situation is
lack of funds. Funds are required for equipping the facilities. Some hospitals
in Zimbabwe are experiencing bed shortages. According to the recommended ratio,
every patient should have a bed during admission and not sharing beds.
Following the economic crisis, this country cannot afford to equip the
facilities. Lack of enough equipment and tools has crippled the healthcare
system. The citizens are also suffering from unaffordable care services.
Majority of Zimbabwe citizens don’t have medical insurances cover to fund their
service that has led to poor outcomes. Besides having inadequate capital to
fund the medical insurances, the country has not been able to train medical
professionals effectively (Zimhealth.org, 2017).
This is also reflective of the high rate of unemployment. The above essentials
determine the stability and ability of the healthcare system to deliver quality
services. The high rate of unemployment means that majority of the citizens
cannot afford money to cover their medical bills as well as living a standard
lifestyle with a reduced risk of getting infections.

Politics

The political crisis in Zimbabwe as well
as other Africa countries has led to low development rate and crippled some
basic function that are sources of capital and revenue (Maclean, 2002). In 2000 to 2008, the
Zimbabwe government considered some decisions that caused hyper inflammation
almost collapsing the economy. There were massive humanitarian crises where a
third of the population fled the country the country and about seven million
depended on food aid. The political crises were later steered by the rigged the
election in 2013. The crisis then contributed to collapsing of banks and
declining of the national GDP. Again, it affected employment leading to loss of
confidence and frustrations among citizens. Some of the issues concerning
political crisis include;

Corruption of the
government

The massive corruption in the government
especially the police unit is evidence and has led to a frequent protest in
Zimbabwe (Konadu-Agyemang&
Shabaya, 2005). As one of the African countries, corruption is the
major cause of financial loss that led the country reliant on the international
community for support. According to the Transparency International Zimbabwe
(TIZ) report in 2016, this country was found that it lost approximately $1
billion annually through corruption (Mwatwara, & Mujere, 2015).
Police and local government officials were the majority regarding corruption
offenders. The rate of corruption in this country has an impact on its economy.
The economists have reported that the rate of corruption is a threat to the
economy by putting off the foreign investors because this is a threat to the
business. African countries including Zimbabwe are among the developing
countries, and they need foreign investors uplift their economy. Corruption in
Zimbabwe has significantly contributed to its economic growth which is
currently very low, unable to sustain public services and the massive
inequalities regarding resource distribution (Bracking, 2009). 

Employment opportunities

Zimbabwe economy has experienced a deep
decline that has made difficult for an average citizen to secure a job and live (May, 2007). Many Zimbabweans have
less confidence regarding their future because there are no jobs. Majority of
the workers survive with earnings below the poverty level. In the formal
centers, workers are hit by challenges such as going for months without their
wages. Unemployment is the biggest crisis that the government should address.
Some of the problems associated with unemployment include people in the urban
areas going without food, medical care, and water. The government is seeking
employment laws to protect the informal employment. Majority of the youths and
especially the graduates are jobless. This has contributed to job crisis that
is observable in social media. Additionally, there is a severe loss of
employment following the economic crisis that has rendered the country poor and
dependent upon international donors. Following the rate of unemployment, most
health professionals have left the country, and some graduates are not
interested in enrolling in these professions (May,
2007).

The apparatus of
healthcare coverage

In Zimbabwe, the public health system is
the largest source of healthcare services, established by the mission “hospitals
and health care delivery under the non-governmental organizational” (NGOs) (Zimhealth.org, 2017). In the recent past, the
country has “experienced an economic decline and political instability that has
affected the healthcare budgets”. This has led to a 40% decline in the
healthcare coverage. The shortage of skilled professionals is also related to
the eroded infrastructure and lack of equipped hospitals. Some of the hospitals
lack essential machines such as laundry, kitchen equipment, and other apparatus
used in medical services. Following the advances technology, the healthcare
system has changed dramatically to enhance quality delivery of services. In the
recent past, this county has been hit by poor maternal and child health issues
following the consistently falling economy.

The government has taken measures
regarding healthcare coverage although this is not effective to solve all the
challenges facing this country. For instance, in 2009, HIV and AIDs accounted
for more than 20% of deaths due to lack of healthcare coverage (Zimhealth.org, 2017). Again, Tuberculosis is
the leading cause of morbidity and mortality wherein 2009, about 431 citizens
in 100,000 population died (Zimhealth.org, 2017). To address the coverage, the
government provided free of charge policy that enhanced free health services
for children, pregnant and lactating mothers (Zimhealth.org). The healthcare
system lacks a substantial government financial support that has diverted their
source of income to user fees in many facilities. In 2009, the country
established a health-sector recovery plan that sought to address the declining
performance of the healthcare system. This plan was budgeted for five years
with a goal of reducing the maternal and child mortality. The coverage was then
under the care of Zimbabwe government, UNICEF, and international donors (Zimhealth.org, 2017).  The above coverage has achieved some of the goals
although not all by improving access to basic healthcare services including
medical equipment and essential medicines.

Causes

Poverty and poor healthcare system in
Zimbabwe among other African countries are associated with many factors
including infrastructure, poor management of resources, wars, internal
conflicts, World Bank, and IMF policies. The above factors have affected the
economy of the country rendering its citizens poor, unemployment and low-income
tax revenue.

Infrastructure

There is deterioration in the quality of
infrastructure following the inadequate public resources and expenditures that
can be used in maintenance and development of infrastructure network. The local
communities are the most disadvantaged regarding the impact of poor infrastructure
on their lifestyles. This deterioration has been associated with lack of
progress in building capacities making it difficult to develop the healthcare
regarding its ability to deliver services. The poor infrastructures are a key
contributor to poverty and physical development in Zimbabwe (State.gov, 2017).

Poor resource usage

Zimbabwe has a historical record of misuse
of land that rendered many citizens poor thus crippling its production. The
ZANU-PF as the ruling party since independence has mismanaged the country’s
resource thus paving the way to poverty. Corruption is another instance
involving misuse of funds. Mismanagement of public resources is also attributed
to the increased poverty among Zimbabwe citizens. For instance, many citizens
are surviving below the poverty level which is indicative that they rely on
governmental resources for things like health and education (State.gov, 2017).

Wars

Zimbabwe was involved in the Rhodesian
Bush War referred as the Second Chimurenga Zimbabwe Liberation struggle. This
war was used to gain independence from the British colonization.  From the Rhodesian Bush War, people were
displaced and other killed thus contributing to the instability of the country.
Again, the country has experience other wars concerning the land crisis after
independence that has affected the stability of the country. As an African
country, most of its resources came from agricultural farming and livestock
keeping that were destabilized. Following the wars crisis, the production was
significantly affected making it a challenge to the government to raise capital
for physical development including the healthcare system (State.gov, 2017).

Everlasting-conflicts

Political conflicts have been the most
prevalent issue in Zimbabwe later after ZANU-PF leader Robert Mugabe ruled for
a long period. The ruling party worked under pressure from the opposition. In
2013, the opposition believed that the elections were rigged that initiated
conflicts. The unstable government lacked time to deliver to its citizens thus
contributing to poverty in the country following the decline in the economy (State.gov, 2017).

World Bank and IMF
policies

Following the sad situation of Zimbabwe
concerning its declined economy, World Bank and The International Monetary Fund
(IMF), presented economic structural adjustments programs (ESAP) trying to get
the country out of poverty and debt (Gogo, 2011).
The world bank strategy to reduce poverty had a negative impact on the economy
of the country by increasing its economic crisis. When compared, the post-ESAP
period, Zimbabwe experienced adverse poverty than it was the prior
implementation of the ESAP program. The IMF policies contributed to more
adverse poverty and poor resource distribution. Some of the policies including
trade, monetary exchange rate, and other social policies were introduced at the
same time. These policies dismantled the economy controls of this country.
Again, during the implementation of the above policies and programs, Zimbabwe
was faced with other external factors such as drought making it difficult to
restore the fallen economy (Gogo, 2011).
Logically, acquiring a loan from the World Bank was not a solution to its
economic crisis rather it worsened because it increased the debt.

Conclusion

 
Poverty and healthcare issues have prevented Africa from prospering as a
country in ways that can be detrimental. Following some issues such as
political crisis, droughts, and mismanagement of resources, African countries
have challenges in improving managing their economic input for essential
developments such as healthcare and infrastructure. Additionally, Africa has a
high level of poverty due to the ever-lasting conflicts. Since independent,
most countries have experienced political crisis which is a major cause of
instability. The political conflicts have been used to gain leadership thus
causing divisions among the citizens. Again, the political divisions are
steered by tribalism thus contributing to wars. Following the instability of
the African countries, their economy has consistently declined to render them
poor and unable to run their functions. The poverty level has also affected the
healthcare system as well making it difficult to serve the citizens. The poor
health care system is attributed to the increased mortality among children and
the aged. Corruption is another major cause of poverty and lack of healthcare
in Africa since most of the public resources are getting wasted. Corruption is
accountable for the greater cause of poverty as compared to other cases such as
drought. The possible solution to these issues is proper leadership. With
proper leadership, all public resources will be managed appropriately. Again,
proper leadership will curb some of the issues such as corruption. To restore the
falling economy and to enhance development, a change of the political regime is
necessary.