Cholera infections still ravaging Zimbabwe

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A humanitarian aid agency in Zimbabwe today says cholera infection rate is fast hitting one hundred thousand and that could be “any time” next week.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, in a report released Tuesday say “it is likely that at some point in the coming week, the 100,000th case of cholera will be officially reported in Zimbabwe”

Cholera outbreak hit Zimbabwe last October last year but the government initially denied it saying its “a biological warfare by the West”

But to date 98,309 cases have been reported, with some 4283 deaths.

The causes of the outbreak still needed to be addressed, the aid agencies warned, adds the report.

“The outbreak was born largely as a result of the country’s almost entirely collapsed water, sanitation and health systems. These issues have not been addressed,” the report states.

Although infection rates have dropped, the spectre of cholera will not be defeated until the underlying issues are addressed, the Red Cross say.

It said the “reluctant support” from donors had undermined the Red Cross Red Crescent cholera operation, “forcing a premature down-scaling of emergency operations”.

The agencies said an estimated 3,75 million Swiss francs was “urgently required” to rehabilitate 1150 non-functional water sources, drill 263 bore holes and construct 3755 latrines.

“Rates of infection and death have declined markedly over the past one or two months.

“The reasons for this are varied: the impact of the humanitarian response; the establishment in some areas of interim social services, and the natural life of any public health crisis.

“However, the eradication of cholera in Zimbabwe or the complete conclusion to this current epidemic is unlikely unless the underlying causes of the health crises are addressed,” the report says.

The cholera epidemic started late October and spread to surrounding areas in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

Health file  The lack of education and political will, poverty, out-moded traditional beliefs, to mention but a few, have been widely blamed for causing severe and sometimes unwarranted health catastrophies of genocidal proportions on the African continent. Child killer diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, water borne diseases, HIV/AIDS, among other preventable ailments have killed millions in their wake. As rightly said by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on May 13, 2000 "More people (...) died of Aids in the past year (1999-2000, ndlr) in Africa than in all the wars on the continent".
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