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Zim faces new cholera threat

ZIMBABWE faces a new cholera threat after an international humanitarian body revealed that 23% of the country’s districts are facing a second surge of the disease.

The United Nations International Children’s Fund (Unicef) said in a report released on Wednesday that it required US$17 million to respond to the most acute emergencies in Zimbabwe. Such emergencies include measles and typhoid outbreaks.
The second cholera outbreak for the 20009/10 season commenced in February and 453 cases and 13 deaths had been recorded, said Unicef, adding that six million Zimbabweans remained vulnerable to a humanitarian crisis because of fragile social service delivery systems.
“Cholera outbreaks have been limited significantly this year compared to the 2008/9 outbreak, due to massive humanitarian interventions and increased general awareness. However, an outbreak in the last quarter of 2010 would pose a serious threat,” reads part of the report. 
Cholera killed over 4 000 people at its peak in 2008 following the breakdown of sanitation, water and health systems.
On measles, Unicef said it had recorded 6 215 cases of the disease, including 384 deaths.
“The outbreaks, the first of which commenced in September 2009 and the second in February 2010, are of a national scale. Fifty seven out of the country’s 62 districts have at least confirmed one laboratory tested case, while 61 districts have reported suspected cases,” read the report. “Though measles epidemics have been mostly contained during the
past 20 years, the steady decline in social services, particularly regular immunisation programmes, has placed children in a vulnerable state.”

 

Loughty Dube

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