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Cholera Outbreak: The Terrifying Reality

ZIMBABWE is facing its most serious cholera epidemic ever. 

The disease has spread across the country and claimed the lives of hundreds.  Medecins sans Frontiers have warned that the situation is exceptionally serious and on November 24 claimed that 1,4 million people are potentially at risk. 

Even the state-owned Chronicle has reported a death toll of 44 at Beitbridge and reports have recently been received of people dying in Bulawayo of cholera. If this is not treated as a national disaster and if clean drinking water, proper medication and adequate sewerage systems are not restored throughout Zimbabwe –– our entire population is potentially at risk.
We are standing on the brink of an enormous catastrophe. This is the reality of the cholera outbreak in our country.  
The more terrifying reality is the vulnerability of our population to this terrible disease.  The majority of our people are malnourished, many are HIV-positive and there are thousands of children and elderly headed families are already struggling to survive.  Not only are these people likely to be infected with cholera, they are very likely to die from it.
We note that those now in control of the Ministry of Health have called for help from the WHO, Unicef and the UNDP.  However, this is too little, too late.  We place the responsibility for this crisis firmly at the feet of the Mugabe regime.  Many deaths could have already been prevented had the regime fulfilled its obligations and provided us with:
*adequate sewerage systems  
*appropriate water treatment
*good health facilities, a great deal of our hospitals and clinics are closed
*medical professionals with the right conditions to work under.
*an end to misappropriation of funds which has caused the malnourishment and the desperate poverty of our nation
We, as the MDC-M, are deeply concerned by this disastrous cholera outbreak.  We are committed to doing everything within our power to relieve the terrible suffering of our people.  
Therefore, we urgently call upon our leaders, Arthur Mutambara, Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe to keep their promise made on September15.  We believe that the best hope for our country lies and in a functioning government and particularly a Health minister who genuinely is concerned for the needs and well-being of each and every Zimbabwean.   
We need a new Health minister who is genuinely concerned about the plight of suffering Zimbabweans and who will urgently mobilise help from the international community to ensure that we have sufficient medicines and health personnel to deal with this catastrophe. We also need a new Minister of Local Government and Minister of Public Works who will urgently work with MDC-controlled local councils to unblock and repair our sewers.
All of this will only happen when everyone puts the interests of the nation before their personal interests. We must understand that this is a national disaster which will only be fixed when we all start pulling together. It is shameful that our beloved nation should have been brought to such a perilous state and it is now time to restore the dignity of our nation and its entire people.

Stella Allberry,
Secretary for Health, MDC-M,

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