Zimbabwe's health disaster worsens

  • Niall Hunter, Editor

An international medical aid organisation has warned that the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe caused by its cholera epidemic is continuing to deteriorate.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says its medical teams have now treated almost 45,000 people infected with cholera in Zimbabwe and the crisis is far from over.

MSF, which has offices in Ireland, says the severity of the cholera epidemic is just one symptom of the disastrous state of Zimbabwe's collapsed health system.

A new report from the organisation says many health facilities in the country have now closed or are not functioning.

"Others demand exorbitant fees in foreign currencies. Effectively, this makes it impossible for most Zimbabweans to access medical care.", the report states.

Manuel Lopez, MSF head of mission in Zimbabwe, said public hospitals there are turning people away, health centres are running out of supplies and equipment, there is an acute lack of medical staff and many of MSF's own clinics are overflowing.

"This is a massive medical emergency,spiralling out of control."

MSF says Zimbabwe's political crisis and economic breakdown have had devastating effects on the country's infrastructure and services.

An estimated 3 million Zimbabweans have sought refuge in South Africa.

MSF says despite the humanitarian crisis, MSF often experiences restrictions and enforced delays in carrying out its work. "To make matters worse, there is a clear lack of a coordinated international response to the unfolding humanitarian emergency," accordingto MSF.

For more information about MSF click on http://www.msf.ie


Discussions on this topic are now closed.