Cholera victims in Zimbabwe being treated with medicine from Canada

A Zimbabwean mother gives oral rehydration solution to her child to treat his cholera. This medicine was provided by Health Partners International of Canada in partnership with World Vision Canada to several clinics and hospitals in Zimbabwe. Photo credit: Courtesy of World Vision Canada

Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak is one of the world’s largest ever recorded, according to the World Health Organization. HPIC has helped in a worldwide humanitarian response to this epidemic.

To date, more than 91,000 cases have been recorded and more than 4,000 people have died.

Patients in rural and urban parts of Zimbabwe that have been hard-hit by the epidemic are being treated thanks to emergency shipments of medical aid that were airlifted to Harare in December and January. By the end of March, the World health Oragnization had reported that the situation is improving.

Health Partners International of Canada partnered with both World Vision Canada and Plan Canada to provide close to $5 million of medicines and supplies, including antibiotics and oral rehydration solution.

“The shipment contributed to the overall cholera response by delivering urgently needed medicines and medical supplies while the reported incidences of cholera were increasing,” wrote World Vision Canada in a report to HPIC. “The National Pharmacy Stock was depleted of oral rehydration solution, leaving health facilities incapable of treating dehydrated patients.”

Cholera is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. The disease is spread through untreated sewage and contaminated drinking water. It is estimated that hundreds of people are being infected on a daily basis in Zimbabwe because of the breakdown of infrastructure and very poor sanitation conditions.

“The dramatic humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Zimbabwe touches the hearts of us all,” said HPIC President Glen Shepherd. “Thanks to partners such as World Vision and Plan, and through the generosity of Bayer Canada, Pharmascience, and Covidien, we are grateful to be able to do our part to bring healing and hope to the people of Zimbabwe.”