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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid