HELP soliciting donations for Health Projects in Zimbabwe Cholera epidemic not yet under control

Bonn/Harare: In view of the dramatic health situation and the cholera epidemic raging now for months the German relief organization HELP, on the occasion of World Health Day 2009 on April 7, is soliciting more donations to support their medical aid projects in Zimbabwe. This year's motto of World Health day is: "Save lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies".

Since August 2008, a cholera epidemic is raging in Zimbabwe, and it is not yet under control. By the end of March 2009, 93,937 cases have been registered, and 4,112 people already died from the disease. The death toll hits 4,4 %. According to WHO (World Health Organization) standards, an epidemic is considered under control when the death rate is under 1 %.

Generally, incidences of cholera are nothing unusual in Zimbabwe. In past years, cases of the disease have occurred, and public health services have always been able to keep them under control, thus preventing an epidemic.

This time, however, public health services cannot cope with the dimensions of the epidemic anymore. Even the most fundamental health services cannot be guaranteed. There is a tremendous shortage of drugs, facilities, personnel, vehicles and further logistics, as well as of the means to pay the remaining staff. Even authorities admitted these facts.

The deficiencies in public health and supply services involve further risks for other sectors and diseases. Child birth, for instance, has to be performed without a sufficient supply of blankets, bowls for water etc. After the rainy season, cases of malaria are likely to increase. And furthermore, thousands of people will die each month from the consequences of HIV/AIDS and inherent infections.

For this reason, HELP, beginning in 1996 already, has ever since been active with health projects in Zimbabwe. Through all these years, primarily in rural areas, numerous clinics have been built and health care stations provided with vital drugs and medical supplies. In the immediate cholera emergency aid, HELP up to now supplied 15 tons of medicaments and infusions. Supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the city of Munich, 12 policlinics, treating 40,000 patients every month, were equipped with cleaning agents, gloves and protective clothes. Other HELP-projects look after HIV/AIDS patients and their families.

HELP is not only implementing health care projects, we also cooperate with other relief organizations working for a sustainable improvement of the situation for Zimbabwe's suffering population. In 2008 alone, HELP provided 27,800 families with seeds, fertilizers and food. In rural areas, 450 wells and boreholes were built or rehabilitated, and 12 elementary schools were equipped with solar driven pumps.

For your media coverage on World Health Day 2009 we would be pleased to arrange for interview partners for you, either in Zimbabwe or at our headquarters in Germany. We are also able to provide photos.

For the implementation of relief projects in Zimbabwe, HELP depends on donations that are urgently needed.

HELP - Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe
Dresdner Bank Bonn
IBAN: DE47 370800 400240003000