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Malnutrition On The Rise In Zimbabwe As Food Becomes Even More Scarce

Zimbabwean medical experts say malnutrition is on the rise as food becomes ever more scarce and expensive, and is a contributing factor in many other health problems.

Aid workers say a government ban on food distribution by private voluntary associations imposed in June made millions of people more vulnerable.

Though the government nominally lifted the ban last week, requirements for re-registration and reporting could keep most NGO’s on the sidelines for weeks to come.

But sources among humanitarian agencies say there is no time to lose – such organizations large and small are looking to feed 3.8 million people as of next month with that figure rising to 5.1 million by early next year. Currently only a few hundred thousand are getting aid.

Meanwhile even the middle class is feeling the pinch with food prices driven out of reach driven by hyperinflation last officially measured at 11.2 million percent for July.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that physicians and other health care providers are seeing more cases in which malnutrition is a root cause.

Dr. Henry Madzorere, health secretary for the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Morgan Tsvangirai, said statistics on malnutrition are difficult to collect, but he believes the effects of hunger are widespread and serious.

Reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...