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Zimbabwean’s health at risk because of lack of cash

Categories : Cash connects people, Cash is the first step of financial inclusion
December 16, 2016
Tags : Africa, Currency, poverty, Public good, Uncertainty
The continuing cash shortage in Zimbabwe is having adverse effects on people's health.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

Zimbabwe’s cash shortage is having an adverse effect on people’s health. Cash is a daily necessity, but its unavailability is forcing women to spend hours in line in front of banks, hoping to get some hard currency.

Since March 2016, when the severe cash shortage began, people have been struggling to retrieve US dollars, the country’s alternative currency since 2009. As a result, the Zimbabwean central bank recently began issuing government bonds, “but that has done little to ease the pressure on services such as banking and healthcare”.

As men go out to look for work, women spend their days in the heat and sun – often with their children – waiting for their turn to get some cash. The fear of losing their place in line forces them to skip doctor’s appointments or go to the bathroom. As Siphiwe Esiphakathi, 62, states: “It’s painful. Coming to get money feels like a daily job, but I can’t eat and I can’t drink water because I’ll lose my place in line”.

Maternal mortality is also going up as a result because hospitals are running out of liquidity and cannot restock with essential medications. Furthermore, the HIV/AIDS cases are growing because some women are resorting to prostitution for a quick access to cash to feed their families.

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