Zimbabwe Cholera Incidence Drops, Problems with Water and Sanitation Systems Remain, WHO Says
The incidence of cholera cases in Zimbabwe has fallen sharply since February, according to the WHO, VOA News reports. Compared to the hundreds of cholera cases and multiple deaths reported each day "at the height of the epidemic," the WHO reported 28 new cases on Wednesday and one death in the country, according to VOA News.
"Experts are urging Harare to accelerate efforts to overhaul the state health system and restore water and sanitation systems to ensure the epidemic does not rebound," VOA News writes (Mhlanga-Nyahuye, VOA News, 5/21).
Reuters examined how Zimbabwe's power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai is helping to rebuild a health system that just months ago was unable "to cope with a cholera epidemic that killed more than 4,000 people."
Since February, Zimbabwe's new government has helped to improve the country's hospitals, increase drug supplies and pay doctors and nurses. Despite such improvements, Reuters writes, "Zimbabwe's full recovery from a decade of decline will take much longer and there is no sign yet of the big inflows of money needed from Western donors who demand greater reform" (Dzirutwe, Reuters, 5/21).
IPS/allAfrica.com examined the "uphill battle" the government has ahead to get clean water to the people of Zimbabwe after the cholera outbreak "exposed the country's poor water management system and archaic water infrastructure."
"I have already embarked on looking for money to bring enough water to the country's homes," Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo said. "By our estimates, my ministry's budgetary allocation will be able to cover only about 50% of our most pressing needs. The rest will come from donors" (Banda, IPS/allAfrica.com, 5/21).
Zimbabwe's government last week launched a "100-day plan meant to restore the economy and set targets on political and economic reforms," Reuters writes, while also looking to Western donors in the hopes of raising billions of dollars.
Western donors have remained hesitant to turn over aid to Zimbabwe's government. "I want to be sure that any aid that comes from an American perspective gets through to the people," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told South African television. Though the World bank has committed $22 million to Zimbabwe, the money will not move through the government, Reuters reports (Reuters, 5/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.