Cholera has killed over 1,100 in Zimbabwe, says UN data

December 18th, 2008 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, Dec 18 (DPA) A total of 1,111 people have died of cholera in Zimbabwe, the UN said Thursday, noting that 20,581 suspected cases have been reported.The statistics from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are generally viewed as the minimum number of deaths, and the actual toll may be higher.

Also, the case fatality rate has again increased, standing now at 5.4 percent, far above the generally accepted rate of less than one percent during a cholera outbreak.

Slightly less than half of the total reported cases were in the greater Harare area.

Earlier this week, Red Cross officials warned that food remained the underlying humanitarian problem in Zimbabwe as a poor and insufficient diet was affecting people’s health and weakening their immune systems.

Officials with the UN’s World Food Programme have said a lack of donations will force them to cut rations but the number of people in need of assistance will increase, and by January, 45 percent of the population will require food aid.

Dilapidated sewage and water delivery systems along with a demoralized and underfunded medical system, including staff who have gone without salaries and cannot afford to travel to work, were contributing to the problem, aid workers said.

Some aid agencies were feeding doctors and nurses who did not have cash for food, while UN officials said they were considering an incentive-based scheme to get more medics back to their jobs.

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