Yes, the IMF estimates that prior to 2008 Zimbabwe’s rate of inflation reached 500 billion percent.
Since then, a power-sharing government has formed after years of decline under President Robert Mugabe, and the economy has stabilized. Zimbabwe abandoned its currency last year, replacing it with the American dollar, and inflation has fallen to a demure 3.6 percent. Teachers are back in their classrooms and nurses are back on their wards.
But a recent United Nations report suggests how far Zimbabwe has to go. It is still poorer than any of the 183 countries the United Nations has income data for. It is also one of only three countries in the world to be worse off now on combined measures of health, education and income than it was 40 years ago, the United Nations found. And in the past 25 years, life expectancy has dropped by 14 years on average: a child born in Zimbabwe today can expect to live to the age of 47, nearly 40 years shorter than the longest lifespans enjoyed on the planet today.
In the wake of such a disastrous state of affairs, this New York Times article explores how Zimbabweans are paying for their medical care – through the barter system.