Hope on Cholera

There are hopes that Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak, which has spilled over into South Africa, may be under control, the International Federation of the Red Cross said.

"There is a sense among the organisations there that the outbreak is under control," said the federation's communications manager, Matthew Cochrane.

"But that is not to say that there is any sense of complacency," Cochrane said yesterday, adding that the disease could flare up again at any time.

Limpopo health spokesman Phuti Seloba expected to have an update on the number of cases by noon, but Cochrane said the federation's information was that 167 people had been admitted and treated by Monday, with three people dead.

Seloba said there were a number of cross-border assistance measures planned, after a meeting between Zimbabwean and South African government officials, but it would be "against our culture" to discuss what they are.

The Limpopo branch of the Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA expressed concern about the added workload, but Seloba said at the moment the department's focus was on controlling the outbreak.

A group of retired statesmen known as the Elders has warned that the cholera would exacerbate the already difficult humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.

An information campaign is also on to inform Zimbabweans of the treatment that is available and to help disseminate messages about hygiene so that people know how to protect themselves. - Sapa