Thursday, February 5, 2009

OLZ Cholera

Esmé's Mommy here.

On our visit to England, we took a quick trip to historic York. Just outside the city wall, still in the shadow of the majestic Minstry, a small cholera graveyard caught my attention.

I was intrigued and did a little research. In 1831-32, cholera claimed 55,000 lives in the UK. Then in 1849, a similar number of people succumbed in a second UK epidemic.

In York, people began to notice that those who lived around the graveyards were quick to catch cholera. So they began burying cholera victims in a separate cholera cemetery away from residences, outside the city wall.

Medical science has come a long way since then. We now understand how cholera is transmitted. We know how to isolate it. We know how to treat people with cholera. It is not a fatal disease, a death sentence, anymore.

But we haven't come far enough. We allow a nation to spiral so far downhill that basic water and sanitation services can't function anymore. We don't know how to deal with twisted minds that prevent us from sourcing and distributing the aid needed to save lives.

More than 60,000 people have contracted cholera in Zimbabwe. More than 3,000 people have died. This has already exceeded all worst case scenarios, and now expectations are that the numbers will double before the epidemic is over.

Cholera is not the biggest killer in Zimbabwe. But the fact that it is a significant killer at all is a desparate alarm to the world that something is seriously wrong in the country.


Pamela said...

I know how much I panicked when my babies were ill -- and now I feel the same with my grandchildren.

How awful for these mothers to endure watching their children die of a disease that shouldn't be.

It is an outrage. It is evil.

Carla said...

I was just reading about a similar outbreak in the World Vision magazine. How horrifying. Something that is so simple to prevent yet so deadly. It is a crying shame that anyone in the world must experience that.

Z's Mom said...

I like how you brought this post full circle....from one country in the past to a different country present time. And you are right....this shouldn't be happening....its preventable....