Whilst cholera is spreading all through Zimbabwe and beyond in South Africa, president Mugabe is in denial mode and he belittle this tragedy.
What follows is a report of Dr Henry Madzorera, health secretary for the opposition party MDC. This report has been published on ThisisZimbabwe (www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe).
The MDC is deeply worried by statements by the President-designate, Mr Robert Mugabe that the cholera epidemic, which is spreading like a veldfire across the country, is now under control.
Addressing mourners at the burial of the late Zanu PF national commissar, Elliot Manyika, Mugabe said the cholera crisis was over. The Zanu PF caretaker government is in a denial mode. The MDC believes that it is such careless and reckless statements that have not helped the situation.
Over 800 people have succumbed to cholera in the last month. At a time Mugabe is saying the epidemic is firmly under control, the South African government has declared cholera a disaster in its northern provinces.
While the World Health Organisation and other international agencies have helped by supplying intravenous fluids and drugs, the epidemic has not abated. The underlying cause of cholera is the lack of running water in people’s homes and the collapsed sewer system across all areas of the country. As long as these fundamentals are not addressed, it would be disingenuous for anyone, let alone a leader, to say the situation is under control.
The MDC, and indeed the people of Zimbabwe, know that the epidemic is still with us and is spreading fast across all major cities and towns. We have visited homes of cholera victims in Harare and we have heard harrowing tales from affected Zimbabweans in Musina in South Africa. Only those who have not given themselves time to assess the situation on the ground will continue to bury their heads in the sand.
We cannot afford to be in a denial mode as a nation. No amount of “tough talking” will help our situation when we need all the help we can get to avert a serious health crisis punctuated by shortage of drugs and a frustrated and shrinking medical staff.
We should be honest with ourselves and with the world. The truth is that cholera remains a major disaster in Zimbabwe.
Dr Henry Madzorera
MDC Secretary for Health
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