WHO alert on Africa

Situation deteriorating dramatically with millions at risk, warns WHO

The World Health Organisation has issued a warning that the situation in southern Africa is deteriorating, with a severe shortage of food, drought and a dramatic decrease in the standard of sanitary conditions, affecting between 12 and 14 million people.

Degraded public services, AIDS, drought and flood cycles have all wreaked havoc with the social tissue of southern African countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Gro Brudtland, the Director-General of the WHO, has issued figures which indicate that the maternal mortality rate in child-birth has deteriorated by 50%, while tuberculosis, acute respiratory infections and malaria are expected to provoke 300,000 deaths over the next six months.

Apart from the well-known scourge of AIDS, which has seen life expectancy figures plummeting to the thirties in many regions, there is also a pandemic of cholera, which sweeping through Mozambique and Malawi, where it has claimed hundreds of lives.

International aid agencies, concludes the WHO report, have been responsible for saving many lives.