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Hyperinflation and AIDS In Rural Zimbabwe

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October 8, 2008

Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is collapsing. Citizens of this once great African nation are suffering under crushing inflation, a deteriorating infrastructure, and an aging despot determined to cling to power.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly a quarter of the population has contracted HIV, with approxamately six hundred new cases per day. Between 2002 and 2006, the population of Zimbabwe decreased by four million.

Caught between economic statistics and a crumbling regime is one of the few remaining medical facilities in Zimbabwe. Staffed by two American doctors, one physician’s assistant, and three registered nurses, along with a small group of Zimbabwean nursing students, Karanda Mission Hospital sees approximately seven thousand patients per month, more than half of the cases being HIV-related.

These images were captured in the winter of 2007 when inflation was at 10,000 percent. Today, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate is officially 11.2 million percent, the highest in the world.

Matt Wright-Steel, who was born in 1978, is a freelance documentary photographer based in Austin, Texas. His subjects include immigration, economics, AIDS, post-conflict pollution, and West Texas.

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