Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Typhoid Outbreak In Zimbabwe

As if the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe did not have enough problems, with Mugabe calling for new elections, and ZANU-PF beating the war drums against the MDC, now there are reports of a Typhoid epidemic in the making.

The outbreak seems to be centered in the Kuwadzana township of the capital, Harare. Early reports are blaming the out outbreak on poor quality municipal water systems. While this seems obvious, since Typhoid is almost always caused by contaminated water, the true depth of the problem may not be immediately obvious. To quote from the Wiki article linked above, Typhoid is "transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person". In other words, there is raw sewage in the municipal drinking water. And we thought the tap water here in San Diego County was disgusting, just because it contains radioactive waste. And flouride. And chloramines to kill the god-only-knows-what bacteria. And...but I digress.

Let us not forget, four years ago, Zimbabwe suffered through a cholera epidemic that affected over 100,000 people, with officially acknowledged fatalities numbering in the thousands. You can be quite certain that the actual number of deaths was far higher than the Mugabe government was willing to admit.

So now Zimbabwe wants millions from the IMF for improvements to infrastructure. But let us stop a moment and ask, what happens to the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Mugabe government gets from sale of Marenge blood diamonds? Hmmmm?

Zimbabwe, my friends, the nation once known as Rhodesia, is a tragic example of everything can go wrong in Africa. And if it makes me want to cry, you can imagine how the Rhodies feel, in whatever homes they have made for themselves in exile, somewhere in Zaire, or South Africa, or Australia.

Text story at All Africa here.

Open Salon readers can watch the video here.

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