Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zimbabwe: The horror continues -- (Pass it on)

Via H5N1 blog... Pass it on

Ma Yingshen at Chen Qi has done extraordinary service in covering not only H5N1 but other infectious diseases...and especially the cholera catastrophe in Zimbabwe. From her latest post, a CNN report: Zimbabwe cholera epidemic worsening. Excerpt:

The outbreak -- one of the world's largest, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) -- is only getting worse, and could be a stepping-stone to other epidemics and health crises, international agencies say.

Since August, at least 3,623 people have died and 76,127 people have been infected by cholera, a preventable water-borne bacterial illness that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration and can lead to death in a matter of days if not treated.

According to a report released Tuesday by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), new cholera patients were being registered at a rate of one every minute at the beginning of February in Zimbabwe.

Unless urgent action is taken, the aid group said, the country could see a worsening of the "massive medical emergency that is spiraling out of control," MSF President Dr. Christophe Fournier told CNN Tuesday after his latest visit to Zimbabwe.

When the industrial world is absorbed in its own economic sorrows, we would be wise to drop emails to our presidents, prime ministers, and health ministers, asking them to reflect on Zimbabwe, but not too long, and then to take decisive action to save that unhappy nation.

Only 15 years ago we stood stupidly mute while genocide killed 800,000 Ugandans. Now Robert Mugabe and Cholera vibrio are collaborating in another genocide.

Don't let it go on.

Also, via NY Times, a link to Huffpost/ Joe Trippi

Roy Bennett Tells Mugabe to "Stick It"

Roy Bennett remains in custody today, and authorities intend to hold him until at least March 4, it was said in an MDC press release. As Bennett is held on charges of 'terrorism,' Zimbabwe military police backed by Mugabe have tried to use him as a political pawn to ensure their own blanket amnesty, no doubt sensing that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is bound to lose power in the near future. One of my colleagues who I've worked with in Africa and who I know and trust, said that when Roy Bennett was told that Mugabe's men were trying to use him to bargain for amnesty, he immediately said, "stick it."


I know Roy Bennett from my time in the region, and can say without a doubt that he is one of the most courageous men I've ever met, with an unending determination to fight for a safe and prosperous Zimbabwe.

...what we're doing here is getting to the fearless people on the ground in Zimbabwe. In a country plagued by the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Mugabe regime, this kind of encouragement is exactly what is needed to keep Roy's message alive. The people of Zimbabwe won't let Mugabe's military cronies get away with the crimes they have committed, and neither will Roy. Help keep this story out there, pass the word along.

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