Cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, Christian radio responds

By December 18, 2008

Zimbabwe (MNN) — Christian radio is reaching out to the people of Zimbabwe as a cholera epidemic has hit the beleaguered nation. More than 18,000 people are infected with a very curable disease, while more than 800 people have died.

Speaking from Africa, Brent Bartlett with Trans World Radio says the nation's economy has caused this problem. "With spiraling inflation and deteriorating services, this has resulted in a lack of maintenance of the sewage systems. Sewage water has been spilling out into roadways. And when you have bad hygienic situations, you have cholera."

Bartlett says the infrastructure failures are widespread.

This epidemic is particularly sad because cholera is very treatable. "But it does require decen, clean drinking water, along with various ways to treat it with salt and sugar. That combination is used to treat cholera."

As Zimbabwe's doors to broadcast Christian radio into Zimbabwe were closed under President Mugabe, Bartlett says, "It has provided the opportunity for Trans World Radio to be able to reach out to people in Zimbabwe and show them the love of Jesus Christ, while being able to give them the basic tools that they need to overcome this disease."

TWR is broadcasting a series of programs featuring health experts to help educate the public on how to combat and prevent the disease. Information on water filtration and treating the disease will also be provided.

Unfortunately, TWR has to keep references to the Gospel to a minimum. "The Gospel is kept low key in those programs, primarily due to the restrictions that are placed on broadcasting in Zimbabwe. But pointing people back to Trans World Radio and Trans World Radio's programs, they can be picked up through medium and short wave broadcasts."

Bartlett says they're looking for people to help fund this program. "We're looking for around $4,000 in order to produce, transport and air these programs. In some cases, the radio stations are so desperate to get this programming they're more than willing to air them free of charge."

The end hope is that people who listen will not only be saved physically but spiritually.

If you'd like to help TWR's cholera program, click here.

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