Friday, March 31, 2006

Leprosy patients face death in worsening crisis

At the Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement in Mutoko, 90 km from Harare, the patients are desperately in need of food, clothing and financial assistance as the centre's coffers are empty. The centre also urgently needs money for bedding, repairs and maintenance of the facilities. An official at the settlement said the situation could become disastrous if no solution to the centre's financial problems was found within the next month (by mid-April).
The already critical situation at the settlement has been worsened by the current economic crisis. Basics such as fuel, food and medical supplies are scarce and galloping inflation, currently at 782 percent, has made what little stocks are available inaccessible to the poor. A patient at the settlement said donations that used to come in have dried up. Another patient said she had been surviving on a small helping of sadza every day.
Mutemwa Leprosy centre is home to 50 patients who have suffered severe deformity and are disabled and destitute - some have lost limbs and others have been blinded by the disease.
A drug as simple as Dapsone treats leprosy and it can be administered in a home.
The regime has instead opted to spend money on buying K8 fighter jets and water cannon, whilst its commissions spend billions on curtains and double cabs.

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