IT makes sad and disappointing reading that 6 000 children have been hospitalised due to malnutrition.
Malnutrition is one of the most serious problems affecting the world’s poor people, and it remains a dominant issue in the health of the world’s needy nations.
However, for Zimbabwe, once a breadbasket of Africa, this should not be happening. All it shows is that bad policies, corruption and a greedy leadership have plunged the country into misery.
Zimbabwe’s food security situation has become a perennial challenge in a country where there is widespread poverty, limited employment opportunities, liquidity challenges and economic instability.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation, decimating the gains derived from a good harvest.
Across Zimbabwe, over five million people in urban and rural areas are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to the World Food programme’s latest assessment report.
With inflation eroding purchasing power, the prices of essential goods beyond the reach of many, the rate of malnutrition is set to rise. This is all happening at a time when the health delivery system has been torn apart by the COVID-19 pandemic and bad governance in Zimbabwe.
What is on the ground flies in the face of proclamations by senior government officials that the economy is on a rebound and there is budget excess.
How is this possible when children are dying from hunger? There is no greater failure of government than being unable to feed its people.
This charade of misrepresenting facts must end. Government must admit failure. As a parent, it reflects badly on you when your children are fed by neighbours. How can humanitarian organisations solely cater for the welfare of children in a country whose government claims to be a new dispensation headed by a “listening President”.
Urban poverty is now a reality that many have learnt to live with as prices of basic goods go up in response to the black market exchange rate which is at the mercy of bigwigs. Many people will suffer from malnutrition and because the public hospitals are ill-equipped, many will return home to die.
This should be a wake-up call to those who pledged to serve the nation without fail.
While chefs wine, dine and are serenaded by artistes from beyond the borders, some families are surviving on one meal a day. That the country is burning is not in question. That children and the most vulnerable are succumbing to medieval conditions is not debatable either but the biggest question is; where are the leaders in all this?
While international organisations like Unicef are going all out to put together funds to avert hunger, the government is resting on its laurels as if everything is in order when it is its duty to ensure that no one goes hungry.
We implore the powers-that-be to spare a thought for the children who are suffering from malnutrition. A country that does not care for its children has no future.