With so many problems at home, it is easy to lose sight of world issues. Yet events such as those occurring in Zimbabwe are impossible to ignore (12/4, A-11, “Zimbabwe police break up protest; A human rights activist is abducted from her home amid the new crackdown on dissent”).
Health care in Zimbabwe is abysmal. There is no public access, and there are no medicines available to the general population. All medical schools and major hospitals have been closed for weeks.
A cholera epidemic — the result of a collapse of the entire country’s infrastructure — has claimed more than 500 lives. Attempts by the medical community to request assistance are being met with violent, government-sanctioned responses. Estimates by non-governmental organizations suggest that half of the country’s population will require food assistance as soon as next year.
As an American medical student, I am moved by the conditions that my peers face. We must stand up to support health professionals throughout the world.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the U.S. State Department must do something to help manage this situation before it becomes so unstable that it compromises the entire region.
Kansas City, Kan.