Cholera in Mozambique could spread because of lack medical supplies

A cholera epidemic that has killed three people and sickened 1,500 in central Mozambique this year could spread, as health officials are overwhelmed and lack supplies, the Health Ministry said Thursday. The Sofala province has been the worst affected, with dozens of new cases reported each day, the ministry said in a statement.

"Our hospitals are facing problems in coping with the epidemic," it said. "We do not have enough beds and sheets for the patients in wards. Some of the sick sleep on the floor."

Heavy rains, and poor sanitation and drainage provide ideal conditions for waterborne diseases such as cholera. Many parts of Mozambique have had heavy rains in the past two months.

The ministry said it was stepping up prevention campaigns throughout the southern Africa nation, which is among the world's poorest and is heavily dependent on foreign aid as it recovers from a prolonged civil war. The Norwegian government on Thursday pledged to donate US$50 million ( Ђ 42 million) annually for 2006-2009. Norway's Minister for International Development Erik Solheim was visiting Mozambique, reports the AP.

N.U.