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28 December 2017, 18:29

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe shoots up, HIV infection drop

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe shoots up, HIV infection drop - picture 1

Life expectancy in the country has shot up from 37 years to 59 while a significant drop in new HIV infections has been recorded, Bulawayo24 reports. The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said his ministry was working hard as infant mortality and maternal mortality had also significantly dropped while life expectancy shot up.

"Zimbabwe had one of the highest HIV/Aids prevalence rates in Africa, but we worked so hard that we have the highest drop in HIV statistics on the continent to the extent that people from other regions come here to learn how to tackle epidemics such as HIV. New infections have dropped drastically. The likelihood of an HIV positive mother giving birth to an HIV positive baby was at 40 percent, but because of treatment that we give it's now at 5,4 percent," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

"Although 59 years life expectancy is low, the fact that it's going up is a huge improvement. Infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate have also come down drastically," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

He said at one point the country was recording 1 100 deaths per 100 000 women who died while giving birth, but the statistics have come down to 614 deaths per 100 000 women dying while giving birth. "It's still high for me, but the big drop is a marker for a health system that's improving," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

He said it was important for people to realise that in spite of the challenges that the health system was facing, the ministry has worked hard towards protecting people's lives. "These are the things that we don't recognise here that Zimbabwe is a beacon country in terms of fighting HIV." he said.

Author: Marina Shegay

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