World Vision, HPIC airlifts $4 million cholera medications to Zimbabwe


    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 13 /CNW/ - World Vision and Health Partners
International of Canada (HPIC) will be airlifting more than $4 million
shipment of cholera medications to Zimbabwe this week, with the support of the
Canadian government. Some 38,000 people have suffered from the disease that
has already claimed more than 1,900 lives since August and the epidemic is
expected to spread as the peak of the rainy season begins this month, World
Vision says.
    The re-hydration solutions and antibiotics donated by HPIC and valued at
$4.76 million will be sent on a chartered plane which a significant portion of
the cost will be financed by a $300,000 grant from Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA). World Vision will distribute the medications in
Zimbabwe to benefit children and families suffering from cholera.
    "This strategic shipment at the height of the rainy season can save lives
of children in Zimbabwe who are the most vulnerable. It couldn't have been
done this quickly without the help of CIDA and the generous donations from
HPIC," said Dirk Booy, Executive Vice President of World Vision.
    "The dramatic humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Zimbabwe touches the
hearts of us all" said HPIC President Glen Shepherd. "Thanks to partners such
as World Vision and CIDA, and through the generosity of Bayer Canada, and
Pharmascience, we are grateful to be able to do our part to bring healing and
hope to the people of Zimbabwe."
    The donated medications will be distributed by World Vision to health
centres in Mashonaland Central in the north of the country as well as Bulawayo
and Matebeleland South in the southwest. The medications will initially
benefit four clinics and hospitals serving 1,300 patients monthly. World
Vision is leading non-governmental organizations for the cholera response in
these three provinces. The organization has already sent its first shipment
worth about $300,000 before Christmas which has now arrived in Zimbabwe. The
second, final airlift this week will carry the remainder of the donated
medications worth about $4.47 million.
    Since the cholera outbreak in August, the situation has been worsened by
rapid deterioration of the health delivery system; critical shortage of
medical supplies; inadequate water supply; and lack of solid waste disposal
and sewerage system in most areas. World Vision is leading a coordinated
response to the cholera situation by providing medical supplies, by drilling
boreholes and by distributing non-food items such as soap, jerry cans and oral
rehydration solution sachets to affected areas. World Vision has worked in
Zimbabwe since 1973 and operates extensive community development projects.
    As Zimbabwe's largest humanitarian aid agency, World Vision donors
support some 72,000 children in Zimbabwe, including 10,500 children supported
by Canadians.
    World Vision also continues to distribute food aid in the country and
plans feed a total of 1.3 million people during the peak of the hunger period
of January to March when 5.5 million Zimbabweans are expected to be in urgent
need of food. Those wishing to help people in emergencies such as the one in
Zimbabwe can visit WorldVision.ca to donate or call 1-800-268-5528.
    HPIC is working with Canadian and Zimbabwean partners to bring emergency
medical aid to the people of Zimbabwe. To contact HPIC, make a donation, or
support the shipment of medications to address Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic,
please call 1-800-627-1787 or visit www.hpicanada.ca.

    About World Vision:

    World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization
dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome
poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion,
race, ethnicity or gender.

    About HPIC:

    Health Partners International of Canada is a medical aid organization
dedicated to improving access to health care and medicine in the developing
world. Since 1990, HPIC has provided more than $285 million of medical aid to
116 countries. www.hpicanada.ca




For further information: on Zimbabwe relief activities or to interview
World Vision staff, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151,
(416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@worldvision.ca; Alex Sancton, (905)
565-6200 ext. 3949, (416) 419-1321, alex_sancton@worldvision.ca; For more
information on medical shipments or to interview HPIC staff, please contact:
Bill Kokesch, Associate Director, Media Relations, Health Partners
International of Canada, (514) 717-4769 (cell), bkokesch@hpicanada.ca