December 5th, 2008
08:15 AM ET

Zimbabwe: Cholera now national emergency

Women and children collect clean water from a UNICEF truck in Harare, Zimbabwe, Wednesday. The nationwide outbreak of cholera, a waterborne disease is blamed on collapsing water treatment plants and broken sewage pipes.

Paidamoyo Chipunza

The Government yesterday declared the cholera outbreak that has claimed 563 lives so far and the malfunctioning of central hospitals as national emergencies and appealed to the donor community for assistance to alleviate the situation.

Addressing stakeholders at a meeting to mobilise resources for the health sector held in Harare, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said there was a critical shortage of resources in the health sector.

He said referral hospitals were in urgent need of drugs, food and equipment.

Dr Parirenyatwa also cited the critical shortage of staff in hospitals adding that those remaining had no zeal to work.

"Our central hospitals are literally not functioning. Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived," Dr Parirenyatwa said.

Among the items urgently required by hospitals are medicines, laboratory reagents, surgical sundries, renal and laundry equipment, X-ray films and boilers.

He said 450 renal patients required dialysis.

Dr Parirenyatwa appealed for food to feed patients and for child supplementary feeding programmes.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Africa • Global 360° • Health Care • Paidamoyo Chipunza
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    What a tragedy! God help them!

    December 5, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    The emphasis on human rights has never been a priority in African nations. What is? The diamond industry?

    December 5, 2008 at 10:52 am |
  3. Cherisa

    I'm not sure I understand why leaders, in Africa and around the globe, waited for a health crisis in this country to raise the alarm. But it gives me hope that change will come soon for Zimbabwe.

    December 5, 2008 at 10:33 am |
  4. Cindy

    It is sad that outbreaks such as these are still happening in our world when this world as a whole is so advanced and rich. But as usual the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and no one wants to help anyone else until there's an outbreak like this. When they could have prevented it to begin with by helping the third world countries have better water supplies, food and such. I hope that this outbreak gets stopped and that they get the help that they need.


    December 5, 2008 at 9:25 am |