In Zimbabwe, efforts to stop the spread
of cholera continue, but the rainy season is helping fuel the epidemic. The
latest figures from UN health officials say that since August more than 2100
people have died among the more than 40,000 cases reported. The average
fatality rate for cholera in Zimbabwe is just over five percent. However, the
rate for the current epidemic is more than 12.5 percent.
Holloway is a communications manager for the International Federation of the
Red Cross. From Harare, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe
De Capua about the vepidemic.
very hard to…pinpoint because the minute the cholera outbreak is…put under
control in one area…there is a flare-up in another area. So…it’s pockets. And
so people are…tackling the situation as it occurs and then when it subsides,
they’re having to help elsewhere,” she says.
a result, the Red Cross, including the local Zimbabwe chapter, is operating
many hygiene and cholera awareness campaigns in Zimbabwe. Holloway says that
some 30,000 volunteers are ”going household to household and village to
village, especially in those…far flung, hard to reach communities where access
to medical centers…might be difficult.”
flare-ups are caused, in part, by a combination of lack of awareness and the
onset of the rainy season, “which is when cholera cases typically peak. And so
when the ground is saturated and there’s running water over the ground it
potentially can put excrement into drinking water,” she says.
At the first signs of suspected
cholera, Holloway says a mixture of water, salt and sugar can help rehydrate
the body, which is losing fluids rapidly through diarrhea and vomiting. But the
water must be boiled first and later kept covered to prevent contamination from