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Explosive Cholera Epidemic Threatens Southern Africa December 5, 2008
Front page of The Standard
Zimbabwe's cholera has become so widespread that government efforts to under-report the number of cases are no longer effective, The Standard reports.
An outbreak of cholera has killed several hundred Zimbabweans and infected more than 11,000 others across a country now without an effective economic or health care system.

At least one politician in South Africa has suggested that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe be removed from office by force due to policies that have led to millions in his country being put at risk of contracting the potentially deadly disease.

Cholera is curable with rehydration therapy, but one in every 10 infected Zimbabweans have not survived since the current outbreak began in August, the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights group says.

The spiraling collapse of the country’s economy has left most of the southern African country’s doctors, nurses and other health officials unpaid for the last several months.

The Red Cross and other agencies have begun delivering food to the health professionals, as well as distributing latrines, medicines and hygiene kits to mitigate the cholera crisis.

In the capital of Harare, the public water supply was shut down after purification supplies ran out, forcing residents to drink contaminated water.

The Standard reports that when its news crew visited the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases’ Hospital in Harrare, patients were being treated beneath the trees outside the facility because all inside wards were full.

Zimbabwe's inflation is estimated to have soared to more than 230 million percent in recent weeks. The country's economic crisis has forced many public hospitals to close.

Most communities receive only intermittent water supplies at best while broken sewers and uncollected garbage amplify the health threat.

Image: The Standard (Harrare)