Clients get weight and height measurements before receiving their food rations in Hurungwe recently.
HURUNGWE - For a heavily pregnant Tafadzwa Gwera (27) of Chiroti Village in Hurungwe, the monthly pilgrimage to Deve Clinic - some 400km north west of Harare the capital - is one she really looks forward to.
In clear defiance of the demands of a bulging tummy, she joins the monthly trek on a neighbour’s donkey cart which doubles as the village ambulance. She is one of hundreds who congregate at the clinic to receive monthly food rations. WFP’s Health and Nutrition Support programme, operating in some 400 clinics in Zimbabwe, is providing much-needed food to 43,000 people. Hurungwe, once a renowned agricultural district, has been hit by successive years of drought and has suffered considerably as a result.
The ration consists of 10kg of Super Cereal (fortified blended food) for the client and a food basket for a maximum of five family members made up of maize meal (known as mealie meal), cooking oil and pulses. The food support Tafadzwa receives is enough to last her a full month. She can now safely nurture her dreams of giving birth to a healthy baby.
“Panotobuda zibouncer”, she remarks in her native Shona language ("I will give birth to a big baby").
She is now able to join the rest of the family in the fields.
Eking a living
Clients are referred by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to WFP’s NGO cooperating partners on the basis of health indicators of malnutrition.
“People are poor, hungry and have exhausted what little food they have from the last harvest” says Tafadzwa, a former clothing factory worker who lost her job in Zimbabwe’s economic downturn.
“Unfortunately, casual labour opportunities are scarce”, she says.
She tried to get menial jobs but has now resigned herself to eking out a living from the dry earth and has been on the WFP programme since December 2011.
The objective of the programme is to support treatment success for malnourished clients through nutritional recovery and ensure adequate food consumption.