In August of 2008, a deadly cholera epidemic manifested in Zimbabwe. A severe health hazard caused the outbreak. There was an extreme lack of clean drinking water in the overcrowded urban cities. Garbage and chemicals got into the public water supplies and contaminated them. Since people did not have access to other sources, they had to drink the dirty water.

The outbreak spread rapidly and infected almost 16,000 people. The illness caused extreme pain in people’s intestines. It also caused a deficiency of important fluids in sick people’s bodies. Without the proper fluids and minerals, metabolic processes stopped working correctly. People were unable to digest food properly or replenish their lost nutrients. If they had not received viable treatment, they would have been likely to die. It was imperative for help to come soon.

However, the government of Zimbabwe was unable to provide help to its people. The government didn’t have a plan to stop the spread of cholera. In addition, the country was too poor to get clean water or medication for the sick. The people seemed to be doomed.

Luckily, many other countries recognized the paramount need to contain the outbreak. Dozens of voluntary practitioners from Britain, France, the United States, and other countries went to Zimbabwe to treat the disease. Through the provision of sterile drinking water and medication, people finally got the treatment they badly needed. The compassionate doctors were able to save the lives of thousands. By January of 2009, the epidemic was almost completely contained.

Today, the Zimbabwean government is working with other countries to prevent future epidemics. They are cleaning up the water supply and learning how to avoid health hazards. The system used to filter water is being upgraded. The government now administers the water supply plants and makes sure that they adhere to strict safety guidelines. Hopefully, future instances of cholera will be treated before they start deadly epidemics.