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Zim hunger, poverty to continue


Zimbabwe is unlikely to meet the target of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

This was said yesterday by Labour and Social Welfare secretary Lancester Museka when he appeared before the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on millennium development goals (MDGs), chaired by Masvingo senator, Minah Mandaba.

He was asked to speak on the impact of the 2011 Budget on achievements of MDGs.

“The population living below the total consumption poverty line stood at 72% in 2003 and is projected to have increased over the years and the human productive index was 24% in 1995 and increased to 40,3% in 2005,” said Museka.

“The percentage of underweight under-fives increased from 13% in 1999 to 18% in 2003, before dropping to 17% in 2005 and further to 15% in 2010,” he said.

On achieving the universal goal of primary education for all, Museka said there was now gender equality at schools with the number of girls enrolled surpassing that of boys.

“Gender equality at primary school level is good with an enrolment of 49,5% boys to 50,5% girls in 2009. However, primary school completion rates have deteriorated during the period 1996 to 2006, falling from 82,6% in 1996 to 68,2% in 2006,”he said.

He however said participation of women in decision-making in all sectors to meet the 50:50 ratio by 2015 was falling behind.

“Infant mortality increased from 60 per 1 000 live births in 2000 to 67 per 1 000 births in 2009. The under-five mortality stood at 94 per 1 000 births in 2009 due to the scourge of HIV and Aids and challenges in the health system,” Museka said.

He said maternal mortality had also worsened in the past 20 years with 283 deaths out of 100 000 live births in 1994 to 725 deaths out of 100 000 live births in 2002.

“Climate change may negatively impact on food security and the proportion of people with access to safe drinking water declined from 70% in 1999 to 61% in 2009. There is an estimated shortage of one million urban housing units,” he said.

Museka said $7 million would be required for food insecurity mitigation.

The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, said since 2009 the country had experienced an economic downturn and it was difficult with the meagre resources availed in the Budget to achieve all the MDGs by 2015.

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