BULAWAYO, December 12, 2008
— Following its acceptance of cholera response leadership in four provinces in Zimbabwe, World Vision is appealing for more funding as it scales up the program. World Vision is the provincial UN health cluster coordinator and focal contact for government, humanitarian agencies and WHO in the four areas.
According to Wilfred Sikulu, World Vision's cholera response manager, "We are currently pre-positioning treatment drugs and other non-food items that we had and those that we purchased for this response. These will be used in communities where World Vision works and their district health centers, as well as more widely, so as to ensure that children in these areas are well covered.”
World Vision has already distributed 200 cholera kits containing oral-rehydration salts, water purifying drugs and other key items to some of the hardest-hit areas.
Simon Makaza, a farmer whose monthly wages translate to only 30 cents, fell victim to the illness this week: “I started feeling dizzy and my tummy was running, and it was so painful, and I wished the pain could go away but it would not just disappear, it was then l called my brother for help. The scary thing is that hospitals are closed and l do not have money to pay for a private doctor or even buy the drugs. I am grateful to the NGOs and donors who have set up this clinic. At least l am being attended to and will be on my way home soon,” he said.
World Vision is urgently requesting medical supplies such as IV Ringer’s lactate (used to rehydrate cholera patients), adult pediatric fluid provision sets and cannulae tubes used to provide the ringers lactate to the body. There is a general shortage of these items in all areas of the response.
The cholera outbreak, which has been declared a national emergency, has claimed 774 lives with 15,690 reported cases. There are fears that up to 60,000 cases and 2,700 deaths could result as the situation worsens.
The rapid deterioration of the health delivery system, lack of adequate water supply, and lack of capacity to dispose of solid waste and repair sewer blockages are the main drivers of the spread of the outbreak. Lack of hygiene practiced by vendors, food outlets and transient populations are also noted in Beitbridge. The situation is set to worsen as the rainfall season progresses.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's central bank has today released a 500 million dollar note — worth about USD10. Zimbabwe's highest inflation was last estimated in July at 231 million per cent but is now believed to be much higher.
ENDWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit worldvision.org/press.