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Zimbabwe: WHO visits Mudzi
Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008

December 11, 2008
The Herald

World Health Organisation experts – who are in Zimbabwe to assist the country with technical support to fight cholera – yesterday visited Mudzi district to assess the situation there.

Another WHO team visited the National Pharmaceutical Company to verify the country's drug levels and what could be done to improve stocks.

The experts will remain in Zimbabwe until the country successfully deals with the epidemic.

A similar team of experts from Sadc is expected to present its findings this morning to the Sadc Troika on Health and Water in South Africa.

The troika is expected to receive another report prepared by the South African delegation that was also in the country on the same mission.

"I think the ministers will be discussing the package of support measures that can be offered to Zimbabwe – both in the interests of Zimbabwe and its people, but also in the interests of limiting the reach of these communicable diseases to the geographical borders of Zimbabwe.

"Our focus is then to work together with the region and the international community to render the necessary support to Zimbabwe to help their health system to cope but, more importantly, to look at what can be done on the prevention side," said South African director-general of Foreign Affairs Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba.

Zimbabwe has been hit by a severe cholera outbreak that has affected nine of its 10 provinces and the country has since appealed for international support.

Similar outbreaks have been reported in Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia but with low infections.

Zimbabwe has already started receiving help from such countries as China, Namibia, South Africa, the European Union, Usaid and other organisations.

Tanzania donated drugs and medical supplies worth US$60 000 while Namibia on Sunday became the first Sadc country to respond to the call by providing water purification chemicals, drugs and medical equipment worth US$200 000.

Meanwhile, MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara has said the cholera epidemic should push political leaders in Zimbabwe to quickly move ahead with the formation of an inclusive Government.

Speaking during a tour of the Budiriro Polyclinic, one of the designated cholera treatment centres in Harare yesterday, Prof Mutambara said Zimbabwe needed to come up with a framework that will direct operations and tackle problems currently bedevilling the country while other issues are being solved.

Prof Mutambara urged MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and President Mugabe to compromise.

"We should come up with some form of government framework that will tackle the problems facing our people," Prof Mutambara said.

Earlier, losing presidential candidate in the March 2008 harmonised elections Dr Simba Makoni was denied entry after he failed to get clearance from Harare City authorities running the centre.

To date, cholera has claimed over 600 lives in the past two months, six of them at Musina Cholera Centre in South Africa where they had gone to seek treatment.

Five hundred and thirty-six others were treated and discharged. – HR.

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