Wake up to the crisis

The cholera racing through almost every province in South Africa threatens us with a crisis that our health officials continue to ignore at our peril.

The cholera racing through almost every province in South Africa threatens us with a crisis that our health officials continue to ignore at our peril.

More than 70 new cases have been reported in three provinces this week. Yesterday the Limpopo government found a local river from which thousands draw their water contaminated by the highly infectious disease.

Cholera is easily treated if diagnosed early, but that means nothing to the people of Zimbabwe, where the health system has broken down along with all other government services.

There, 2000 people have succumbed as even water reticulation and sewerage systems collapse.

And it was always inevitable that as more of our desperate neighbours fled to South Africa to ensure their survival they would bring the disease with them.

But that hasn't troubled our authorities.

Though more cholera cases are reported daily, no one has yet declared a national alert, a coordinated government effort or a public awareness campaign to sensitise the public to the threat.

Health officials must stand up now and ignore political considerations to declare the cholera epidemic ravaging Limpopo a national emergency or we risk a fallout similar to what is happening across our northern border.

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