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