Kenya + 4 more

IFRC/Africa: Clean water and cholera campaign

From IFRC WEEKLY NEWS 11/99 18 March 1999
Cholera is once more spreading dangerously in eastern and southern Africa, the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa. With millions of people at risk, the International Federation is marking World Water Day on 22 March by appealing for far greater efforts to prevent the disease in Africa. Poor access to water is one exacerbating factor, and together with poor hygiene, the absence of proper sanitation, environmental pollution, and widespread ignorance of the disease, contributes to cholera's spread. Cholera, the International Federation emphasizes, is simple to prevent and cure, if there is the will to do so. But despite strenuous interventions to contain epidemics the causes of cholera remain. It is now endemic in many regions, and with the rainy season beginning in some countries 1999 will bring more emergencies. Mozambique, used to serious annual outbreaks, has suffered more than usual due to flooding, particularly in the centre of the country, and the incidence and spread of the disease in Zimbabwe is worrying. This week an official cholera alert was sounded on the Kenyan coast and some 20 of Kenya's 65 districts are now reportedly affected. The International Federation is supporting ongoing Red Cross/Red Crescent medical intervention, public education campaigns, and efforts to improve water and sanitation throughout the stricken areas, particularly in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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