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Reference : V-P-ZW-E-00053
Date : 29/01/2009
Country/Region : ZIMBABWE
Caption : Mashonaland West province, Makonde district, Nyamupamira village. A health worker spraying chlorine on the clothes of persons infected with cholera, in order to check the spread of the disease.
Photographer : WAUDO, Robin
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : The number of lives lost to cholera has risen steadily since the onset of the epidemic late last year and now surpasses 3,000. In addition, nearly 60,000 cases have been reported. This is the worst epidemic to hit the country in 14 years and could not have struck at a worse time, considering the hardships and challenges that Zimbabwe is already facing.

This makeshift cholera treatment unit is in Nyamupamira, a village in Makonde district in Mashonaland West province, 180 kms from Harare. It is one of nine units set up by government health authorities and supported by the ICRC. The units were established to bring medical assistance closer to rural communities since they cannot afford to travel to health facilities. The closest health clinic to Nyamupamira is 30 kms away.

Lack of transport is a major constraint in the area. Most patients arrive from nearby villages on wheelbarrow.

An estimated 80% of the deaths from cholera occur at home since infected people lack the means to travel to medical units located too far away.

The chlorine-based spray disinfects in order to control the spread of the cholera infection.

The bacteria that cause the disease are often spread through contact with infected people. Such contact includes handshakes.

The ICRC has teams in Makonde district that are promoting the prevention of cholera by spraying the households of patients and raising communities' awareness of basic hygiene.

The organization is also working in Kadoma and Chegutu towns in Makonde district to improve water and sanitation and thereby promote the prevention of water-borne diseases.

Original material : digital
Resolution : 3008x2000
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour