Zimbabwe Appeals For Aid, Declares National Emergency On Cholera
Zimbabwe is appealing for international aid after declaring a cholera epidemic - which has so far claimed 565 lives -a national emergency, the state-run Herald newspaper said Thursday.
"The government On Wednesday declared the cholera outbreak ... and the malfunctioning of central hospitals as national emergencies and appealed to the donor community for assistance to alleviate the situation," it said.
"The emergency appeal will help us reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with the current socio-economic environment," Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told a meeting of aid groups, the newspaper reported.
"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."
He put the death toll so far at 563, after the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday that the outbreak had claimed 565 lives, with 12,546 recorded cases.
Cholera is the latest challenge to hit poverty-wracked Zimbabwe, which is already struggling with political instability and the world's most severe case of hyperinflation.
Cholera is caused by food or water tainted with vibrio cholera bacteria, the World Health Organization says. With a short incubation period, it brings on diarrhoea that can fast lead to severe dehydration and death.
Parirenyatwa said that referral hospitals were in urgent need of drugs, food and equipment. Also needed are laboratory reagents, surgical sundries, renal and laundry equipment, X-ray films and boilers.
In addition, he said the health ministry needs 1.5 million dollars a month as incentives for health workers who have gone on strike in government hospitals in a pay dispute.
"So far, seven million has been made available with effect from January 1, 2009 and there is still a gap of 11 million dollars which we are requesting now," Parirenyatwa said.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.