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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: February 27 2009 »

IRIN, 26 February 2009

Johannesburg Zimbabwe will gladly receive any and all humanitarian assistance, but with a cholera epidemic expanding rapidly into rural areas and millions still food insecure, much more will be needed for months to come, a United Nations inter-agency mission to the country concluded.

"From what we have heard from members of the international community, and seen from our visits to several areas in the field, it is obvious that humanitarian needs in the country remain grave," Catherine Bragg, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, who led the mission's five-day visit to Zimbabwe, told reporters in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 26 February.

The mission met with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and a number of cabinet ministers. "We were given assurances of full cooperation. We spoke of having further engagements as we widened the scope of our cooperation," Bragg said.

Acknowledging the problem

"We must stress that the welfare of the people is the responsibility of the government - we trust that the all-inclusive government will take the necessary steps to address the fundamentals of governance that would allow stability and economic recovery," she commented.

She said President Mugabe acknowledged the severity of the crisis. "He has recognized that there is one ... [and] in our discussions with the rest of the cabinet ministers they quite freely used the terms, 'humanitarian situation', and 'humanitarian crisis'. Both the president and the prime minister expressed appreciation for the support Zimbabwe has been receiving from the humanitarian community," Bragg noted.

Too much cholera

They quite freely used the terms 'humanitarian situation' and humanitarian crisis'

According to Daniel Lopez Acuna, Director of Recovery and Transition Programmes at the World Health Organization (WHO), the cumulative number of cholera cases as at 25 February was 83,265, with 3,877 deaths.

While weekly observed cases showed a decline, Acuna said the case fatality rate remained stubbornly high at 4.7 percent. The WHO has noted that the acceptable level should be below 1 percent.

"One of the things that the mission had been discussing with the different stakeholders ... has been that the actions ... to curb the cholera epidemic need to go beyond just immediate measures, and need to address the more structural problems of water and sanitation and the sewage system, and of the health system.

"The critical action now is to go closer to where the problem is, and that is in the communities that don't have access to adequate water, where sewage is a problem, and that have no access to cholera treatment centres (CTC). Most of the deaths that happen do not even reach the CTCs, and that's where we need to make sure that the humanitarian action is intensified."

Robin Nandy, Senior Health Advisor to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said the challenge now was dealing with the outbreak in rural areas. The collapse of infrastructure meant that peripheral health services were interrupted.

"When the cholera outbreak started it was mainly in the urban areas, which ... has been addressed. Now the disease has spread to more remote areas with access to very few services ... [where there is a need] to interrupt transmission, to prevent people from getting the disease and, if they do get sick, to try to ensure that treatment services are provided. This shift is now currently taking place," Nandy said.

Too little food

"Food security is another mayor issue," Bragg said. "A growing number of households are reducing the number of meals they have per day. The people of Zimbabwe have shown considerable resilience in the face of hardship, but everyone has his or her limit. We expect there will be continued need for food assistance through 2009."

According to Timo Pakkala, the World Food Programme's (WFP) Deputy Regional Representative, "On the food aid side, obviously requirements have been very high. During the peak lean season, where we are now, in Zimbabwe some seven million people are receiving [food] assistance until the next harvest, expected in April."

Zimbabwe's population is officially estimated at around 12 million, but several million are believed to have left the country in recent years in search of work.

"The cost of such a large-scale operation has been very high. We have been providing assistance worth US$240 million in 2008/09," Pakkala said. New assessments after the April harvest would give a better indication of needs.

"The indications are that the harvest prospects are not very good, so it is likely that food aid will continue this year," Pakkala warned. With the WFP's programme projected to continue into 2010 - subject to the post-harvest assessment results - "The budget that we are still resourcing is about US$350 million - that is the current shortfall," he said.

Moving forward takes money

"This is therefore the time to step up our action," Bragg said. "If we do not ensure farmers have the necessary inputs for the next agricultural season, which begins in September and October [2009] we could end up next year with situations similar to what we have today. Seven million in need of food aid should not become the new norm in 2010."

The humanitarian community "will continue to provide food aid where needed; to continue to establish and operate cholera treatment centres, especially further in the periphery, and we will continue to intensify community public health outreach," she told reporters.

"It is going to be very important to continue getting support from the international community to carry out these actions," Bragg said, noting that "with adequate resources" the humanitarian community would be able to quickly mobilize the required material and personnel to strengthen the response to the humanitarian needs in Zimbabwe.

The international community has been very generous to the people of Zimbabwe, Bragg said, adding: "We will be approaching them again with requests for additional resources, based on new assessments of the evolving situation. We are counting on their continued generosity."

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

Copyright 2009 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #1 on: March 09 2009 »

New Cholera cases in Binga district

20 cases of cholera have been reported in Pashu and Nsenga Areas of
Binga districts. Two deaths have so far been reported. These are fresh
outbreaks, after the district managed to contain the earlier outbreak
which occurred in January 2009. The Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare and already demobilized the Cholera Treatment Camps (CTC) and
surveillance teams that were set up during the previous out break.
There is now need to remobilize resources and re-establish the CTC and
surveillance teams. The challenges faced with the district currently
are the resources. We are appealing to donors and well wishers to
assist the district in fight against cholera before the situation
worsens.

Regards


Pottar
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #2 on: March 10 2009 »

Cholera Death Toll Passes 4,000 As Fatality Rates Drop - UN Report

9 March 2009

Zimbabwe's widespread cholera epidemic has now claimed over 4,000 lives since August, and almost 90,000 people have contracted the deadly disease, according to the latest United Nations report on the outbreak.

Some 2,151 new cases of cholera were identified last week, down from 8,000 per week at the at the start of the year, noted the joint UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and World Health Organization (WHO) report.

The latest report has calculated the total number of people who have contracted the disease at 89,018 and 4,011 dead.

However, the fatality rate in treatment centres has fallen to 1.8 per cent, a significant reduction from previous figures which exceeded 4 per cent. The drop in the death rate is a result of improved monitoring and response mechanisms instituted by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with international partners.

Over 90 per cent of Zimbabwe's 62 districts are infected with the water-borne disease and more than 60 per cent of deaths occur in rural areas where limited or no treatment is reaching the local population.

Humanitarian agencies are focusing on improving outreach to these rural areas in support of Government efforts.

Copyright 2009 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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ZILUNDU
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« Reply #3 on: March 14 2009 »

I HAVE NOT BEEN AT HOME FOR QUITE SOME TIME COMRADES. AND RECENTLY I WAS THERE AND NOT IMPRESSED...NOT IMPRESSED AT ALL.

SPIWE CHIKOSI CAUSED AN UPROAR WHEN SHE DID WHAT SHE DID AND THE CASE WENT THE WAY IT DID...THAT WAS IT BUT NOT ENOUGH AND A FEW OF US DID NOT LEARN FROM THAT: I MEAN PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES...SHE ONLY USED WRONG FACTS TO POINT AT SOMETHING THAT WAS IN OUR MIDST HIV/AIDS...

PEOPLE ARE DYING, NOT BECAUSE FATHERS ARE SLEEPING WITH THEIR DAUGHTERS, BUT BECAUSE HIV IS THERE AND IN ABUNDANCE. TRADITIONAL HEALERS STILL TAKE PEOPLE'S MONEY, LIVESTOCK YOU NAME IT, AND CONTINUE TO MAKE US EVEN MORE SUPERSTITIOUS IN THE WAKE OF A SIEGE...

STIGMA AND IGNORANCE ARE FIGHTING FOR A PLACE AND STILL REIGN SUPREME IN OUR CONSCIENCE

"PROPHETS" ALSO PULL IN THEIR DIRECTION IN THE NAME OF THE CREATOR

"EXOTIC" TEACHERS CONTINUE TO IMPORT AND EXPORT OUR YOUTHS FOR HERDBOYS AND HOUSEMAIDS..AND ALSO SOUTH AFRICA HAS FISHED FROM EVERY PRODUCTIVE AGE GROUP

TEACHERS, THE FEW THAT ARE STILL THERE CONTINUE TO TEACH OUR YOUNG STOCK(GOOD), BUT THERE ARE A FEW WHO STILL SEE BEAUTIES OF THE PUPILS AND IN BINGA "SOUTH" QUITE A NUMBER OF PARENTS WERE CALLED TO SCHOOL(NOT FOR ADULT LITERACY!) TO "DECIDE" WHETHER THEY SHOULD BILL THE OFFENDING TEACHER IN FORM OF LOBOLA OR "WARN" THE PROBABLY HABITUAL OFFENDERS. I WAS NOT IMPRESSED!!! MAYBE BINGA IS NOT PAT OF THE MANDATE OF THE STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS OF ZIMBABWE...

WHO WILL PUT THESE ISSUES BEFORE A DCC OR ANY PLATFORM [NOT CYBER, PLEASE) FOR DISCUSSION AND TO GUIDE POLICY?

ON A POLITICALLY INCLUSIVE NOTE, BINGA HAS, WHETHER BY DEFAULT OR OTHERWISE, BEEN HONOURED TO HAVE A "GEOLOGIST" FOR A STATE ENTERPRISES MINISTER, WHATEVER THAT MEANS. SO HOPE FOR THE BETTER AND WORK CLOSELY WITH THE TORCH BEARER AS WE MIGHT GET "PRECIOUS STONES" FROM THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ARRANGEMENT...GO BINGA GO

AND FROM THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN DOING GOOD THINGS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION...THAT WAS GOOD...I WAS HAPPY TO MEET A HANDFUL HEADING FOR FORT HARE TO LEARN...AND GET MORE DEGREES

I AM JUST BARKING FROM THE TERRACES..COMRADES
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #4 on: March 24 2009 »

Cholera Declining But Continued Vigilance Vital, Says UN Health Agency

23 March 2009

While noting an overall downward trend in the number of cholera cases and deaths in Zimbabwe over the last two months, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today urged continued vigilance, citing the very real risk of the outbreak restarting in some areas.

According to an update issued today by the agency, some 2,076 cases were reported in the week ending 14 March, which, although still high, is down from 3,812 cases in the week prior and over 8,000 cases per week at the beginning of February.

In addition, the weekly Case Fatality Rate has decreased from its peak of near 6 per cent in January and stood at 2.3 per cent for the week ending 14 March.

"While data collection and verification remain a challenge throughout the country with the effect that weekly statistics are not always accurate or complete, the overall trend over the last two months is of a decreasing number of cases and deaths," WHO said.

As of 17 March, 91,164 cases of the water-borne disease have been reported with 4,037 deaths since the country's worst-ever outbreak began in last August.

WHO states that while cases have decreased in all provinces, they are increasing again in and around the capital, Harare.

"The risk of the outbreak restarting in those areas of the country is real," notes the agency. "The need to remain vigilant and to continue and reinforce the control measures already in place is paramount."

WHO and its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) partners have a sizeable team working out of the national Cholera Command and Control Centre in Harare.

Their efforts, along with partner UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have been vital in tackling the outbreak in the Southern African nation, which has a dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure and a weak health system.

Copyright 2009 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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