News / Health

Zimbabwe Takes Aim at 'Neglected Tropical Diseases'

FILE - Cholera patients drink treated water inside an admission ward at Budiriro Polyclinic in Harare, Zimbabwe.
FILE - Cholera patients drink treated water inside an admission ward at Budiriro Polyclinic in Harare, Zimbabwe.
— The government of Zimbabwe, with help from U.N. agencies and Western donors, is trying to eliminate so-called "neglected tropical diseases" that affect mainly children.

At Tsungubvi Primary School, about 80 kilometers south of Harare, the government has launched a program of eliminating "neglected tropical diseases."

In the background is the voice of Lazarus Dokora, Zimbabwe’s education minister. He is trying to persuade parents that the drugs being administered will not affect their children.

Mashonaland Central province is one of the areas most affected by such diseases. Statistics showing that in some areas, as much as 90 percent of the children have these water-borne diseases, such as bilharziasis.

“This is a major cause of concern for us all. Bilharzia and intestinal worms problem should be addressed comprehensively by improving and modifying environmental determinants that cause reinfection,” said Dokora.

Dokora said he is worried that open defecation and the absence of adequate safe drinking water could undermine this program, which was funded by about $5 million from U.N. agencies and Western donors. The money was spent on drugs that were given to the Zimbabwean government for distribution to clinics and hospitals.

According to the U.N., nearly 70 percent of rural households in Zimbabwe do not have modern sanitation facilities, and about 40 percent of them practice open defecation.

Dr. Portia Manangazira, Zimbabwe’s chief disease control official in the Ministry of Health, said those statistics are worrying.

“These drugs are not cheap - of course the prices have gone down. But you still not want to treat the same person over and over again," said Manangazira. "After treating them, they are going to the same environment that made them sick. So the issue of reinfection is very important. We would want to see, as a ministry of health and child care, a mirroring in the improvement of water and sanitation because these are diseases of poor water and sanitation coverage.”

Zimbabwe lacks the cash to undertake such initiatives, so for now, doctors will try to control the diseases, in hopes the underlying problems can be dealt with in the future.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid