Target: Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe
Goal: Urge Zimbabwe to create stricter sanitation legislation to combat cholera epidemic.
It’s no mystery that access to clean water is scarce in developing countries. In Zimbabwe, the less than stellar sanitation situation currently has the country on alert for a cholera outbreak, a problem that it has been ignoring for years now.
In 2008, the World Health Organization announced that Zimbabwe had more than 16,000 known cases of cholera. After much probing and outcry from environmentalists and activists, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe promised to get the situation under control. Despite this, things have spiraled out of control with more than 100,000 people infected and more than 4,000 reported dead at the hands of cholera.
Cholera is a largely preventable disease that arises only when sanitation efforts are poor. Unfortunately for developing nations, state-of-the-art sanitation technologies and health legislation are virtually unavailable, leaving countless innocent people at risk for being exposed to life-threatening diseases like cholera. In Zimbabwe’s capital, the sanitation situation is dire, as many people are forced to drink from wells contaminated with sewage while others have no other choice but to defecate outdoors. It isn’t unusual to see children playing freely on dumpsters teeming with human waste or frolicking in mounds of garbage that cover the streets.
Also, a recent report by Human Rights Watch revealed that corruption and mismanagement of local water and sanitation companies are at the heart of Zimbabwe’s potentially damning situation. A $144 million loan from China was issued to the country to help rehabilitate the capital’s waste water treatment to no avail, and the president’s declaration of the country being “cholera-free” is questionable.
Zimbabwe is facing an outbreak that could claim countless lives, especially those of young children, if their sanitation efforts aren’t made a priority. Sign the petition below to urge President Robert Mugabe to take the country’s risk for a cholera epidemic seriously and rectify its sanitation industry.
Dear President Mugabe,
Zimbabwe is currently on cholera alert, with a total of 100,000 known infections and 4,000 deaths accounted for. Cholera is a largely preventable disease, one that arises due to poor sanitation efforts. It is understood that developing nations lack access to many of the state-of-the-art technologies needed to aid a sanitation industry, and many aren’t privy to important health facts related to lack of sanitation and contaminated water.
With that being said, corruption and mismanagement are at the heart of Zimbabwe’s lack of finding a solution to a potential epidemic. Also, your statement declaring Zimbabwe “cholera-free” isn’t apt. Already, 300 people have died of cholera and cholera-related complications in 2015. In the country’s capital, people unknowingly drink from contaminated wells teeming with sewage and others are forced to defecate outdoors because there aren’t sufficient sanitation solutions. Public toilets overflow with waste, children play on refuse dumps and most people in the country have no knowledge of the health risks associated with drinking unclean water.
To say that this situation needs to be resolved immediately is an understatement. A conscious investment must be made by Zimbabwe’s government to ensure access to clean water and sanitation, as well as rapid detection, increased availability of treatment, and the advent of public education campaigns to prevent more deaths from cholera.
I urge you to seriously consider inducting health-related legislation that will combat the spread of cholera and prevent it from becoming an epidemic and claiming more innocent lives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fae via Wikimedia Commons