Wednesday, May 14, 2008

South Africa's Dirty Little Secret: Update

The number of baby deaths in the Ukhahlamba region of Eastern Cape Province has risen to 123, according to an article in Port Elizabeth's "The Herald Online".

I first reported this story on April 23rd. At that time, 80 babies were thought to have died of diarrhea and other complications after having consumed contaminated tap water. The safety of the region's water supply had been compromised by a breakdown in the drinking water treatment system – a breakdown that was allowed to persist for several months.

Until recently, the South African government had done nothing to correct the source of the problem, other than to form a committee to investigate. That committee is compiling a report to present to the health ministry.

According to the latest article, the government has finally taken steps to carry out an emergency upgrade of the water treatment system. Perhaps we have seen the end of this outbreak, at last.

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