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US,  Zimbabwean Physicians Groups Warn Of Looming Cholera Disaster

U.S. and Zimbabwean physicians groups sounded an alarm Wednesday about the cholera epidemic that is sweeping the Southern African country, warning that it faces a public health catastrophe and asking the international community to provide urgent assistance.

Physicians for Human Rights of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights issued the plea for international help following a news conference by phone in which the medical activists discussed the crisis and the needed response.

Physicians for Human Rights pledged to send doctors and other health professionals to help Zimbabwean counterparts relieve the growing number of cholera victims.

Physicians for Human Rights Chief Executive Officer Frank Donaghue called for a legitimate government to be put in place to protect the lives and health of Zimbabweans.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, put the responsibility for the crisis squarely on the Harare government

Dr. Gwatidzo told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, participating in the news conference, that an honest assessment must be made of what has gone wrong as a starting point to ending the crisis, while Donaghue urged international action.

A Zimbabwean medical student told the news conference authorities have under reported the cholera epidemic which reportedly stands at about 1,000 cases mainly in Harare, Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West province, and in Beitbridge on the border with South Africa.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...