Published: 16th December 2008
CMF General Secretary Peter Saunders says, 'The situation is desperate and UN estimates of 18,000 cholera cases with 1,000 deaths thus far are a gross underestimate. Most hospitals and health facilities are closed and there is no money for even the most basic medical supplies. As a result, a manageable, treatable and preventable condition is causing severe illness and death on a massive scale. But in the midst of this tragedy we can make a huge difference. Through our contacts in Zimbabwe and South Africa we can purchase and deliver vital emergency medical equipment to Christian doctors treating patients right now. Complete IV kits including IV fluid, line, needles and gloves cost approximately £6 per patient. £60 could save ten lives; £300 could save 50.'
A leading doctor in CMF Zimbabwe reported yesterday on the situation in Chegutu, 'One night 250 patients came to our cholera treatment centre. The outbreak was caused by sewerage being sucked into the water supply due to low water pressure and vandalised pipes. The Celebration Health team was mobilised and started work at midnight. We gave 1200 litres of fluid in 7 hours to the 150-200 patients on site and saw the mortality come down from 15 people a day to 1 per day. We immediately saved 20 lives. We saw death turned back as we were able to show the love of Christ. The whole city of Chegutu was so thankful. They poured out free food and accommodation on us and supplied all our needs.'
Dr Vicky Lavy, CMF UK's Head of International Ministries, who is coordinating the project added, 'Many organisations and governments are working together to meet this challenge. But through our partners in Zimbabwe we are able make a unique contribution. Just £6, less than the cost of a cinema ticket, will treat a dying patient. Everything we raise, including Gift Aid, will be passed to trustworthy staff in the front line. People can give now directly at www.cmf.org.uk and we will post regular updates of progress on the website.'
'Zimbabwe has faced many hardships, but none more severe than this countrywide cholera epidemic caused by failing to maintain sewerage and water systems. The job of rebuilding the country is immense but the immediate need is to respond to the emergency now and equip those who can deliver effective help. Please help us help our Christian colleagues in Zimbabwe as they respond to this immense challenge.'To respond, visit www.cmf.org.uk
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.