Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heal the sick?

CNN reports: Cholera kills more than 1500 in Nigeria

Nigeria catches my eye when it's in the news; I've got friends there.  It's like seeing a weather alert for the neighborhood where you kid lives.  Cholera is easily prevented and treated, and it's on the agenda for aid organizations.

In an attempt to be honestly concerned about my fellow man, I went to the World Vision website and inquired about cholera.  It cost me $100.  Now, that is and isn't a lot of money.  It'll barely cover a weekend's goofing off these days.  I won't really miss it, at least not a lot.  On the other hand, it'll buy a heck of a lot in the way of medicine and help in the places where it really matters.  If you can hold that hundred dollars in your hand and ask yourself honestly who needs it most, perhaps you can find a little willingness to sacrifice a bit.  If you consider it long enough to weep, you're not alone.  Our brothers and sisters and their children could use a hand.

Cholera continues to turn up in places where care is least available.

World Vision Helps
The cholera crisis in Zimbabwe began in 2008, according to the UN World Health Organization.  More than 4200 have died so far, and 90,000+ got sick. The outbreak is attributed to the collapse of the country's health and sanitation services.  Women and children account for 4 out of 5 cases.

Cholera is spread by contaminated water. It causes extreme diarrhea and dehydration, and can quickly lead to death. Though the disease is easily treated, most hospitals in Zimbabwe have closed down, and there are no chemicals to purify drinking water.

Due to a shortage of purification chemicals, such as chlorine, the capital city of Harare stopped receiving piped water on 1 December 2008.[a1] By that date, many suburbs had not had any water supply for much longer.[a2] On 4 December 2008, the Zimbabwe deputy minister for water and infrastructural development stated that there were only sufficient treatment chemicals in stock nationally for twelve weeks supply.[a3] Many households cannot even afford sufficient fuel to boil all of their water.[a4] 

In Zimbabwe, fatality rates varied from 2.5% in Harare to 18% in Chitungwiza.[b1] In Harare, the crisis reached the extent that the city council offered free graves to cholera victims.[b2]

Many Zimbabweans fled to neighboring countries, taking the disease with them.  Now it's in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) -- A cholera outbreak in Nigeria has killed more than 1,500 people, the United Nations said Tuesday.  It is the worst cholera outbreak in Nigeria in recent years. The number of cases is three times higher than last year and seven times higher than in 2008, the United Nations Children's Fund said.  The outbreak has led to 40,000 cases in Nigeria and resulted in 1,555 deaths, UNICEF said. Women and children account for four of every five cases, the agency said.  Other African countries such as Sudan, pictured here, suffer as well.

It's been happening in Africa with regularity over the years.  Sao Tome fought the same battle in 2006,  Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia beginning in '08, Nigeria in '10.


On the beaches of São Tomé , danger in the water

PRAIA LOCHINGA, Sao Tome and Príncipe, 6 February 2006 – Jordiney’s mother Gimé said her young son felt fine in the morning.