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Zimbabwe Farmworkers' Union Struggles with Spread of Cholera to Rural Areas

Posted to the IUF website 26-Jan-2009

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Zimbabwe's deadly cholera wave is spreading rapidly out from its original urban epicenters and is now ravaging rural areas. The UN World Health Organization's most recent figure records over 2,755 deaths to date, with a 20% increase in the number of fatalities in the space of one week.

Zimbabwe's agricultural workers' union GAPWUZ has embarked on a major educational program in rural areas to curb the spread of the disease. According to the GAPWUZ general secretary Gertrude Hambira, the union is responding to the urgent need to educate farmworkers on water and basic hygiene and is struggling to organize cholera workshops on farms, many of which are not easily accessible. "There is no provision of good quality water at the farms", says Hambira." GAPWUZ, which has slammed the government for closing its eyes to the epidemic while destroying the health system, is calling for massive emergency provision of medicine and water purification tablets, among other measures.