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VOA Provides Zimbabweans With Vital Information About Cholera

'Studio 7' covers the epidemic in Shona, Ndebele, and English

Washington, D.C., February 5, 2009 - Voice of America's (VOA) Studio 7 is playing a vital role providing Zimbabweans with the latest news and information about an on-going cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3,000 people.

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Studio 7 ( has covered the epidemic comprehensively since 2008, including broadcasting public service announcements about the treatment and prevention of cholera. LiveTalk, a weekly call-in show launched last month, has featured segments on cholera, allowing listeners to question medical doctors and experts about disease. Cholera is an infection of the intestine caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with cholera bacterium.

"We are getting encouraging reviews of this work," said one public health official, referring to VOA. VOA is "significantly growing in its ... reach and popularity in Zimbabwe," he wrote in an e-mail, adding, "once again, I would like to thank you."

Studio 7 broadcasts include World Health Organization (WHO) highlights, updates and alerts, along with information from organizations including USAID, Red Cross, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders and Catholic Relief Services.

"Our goal is to make sure our listeners in Zimbabwe are given the most up-to-date information about cholera and how to best protect themselves from this disease," said VOA Director Danforth Austin.

The latest WHO figures say 65,739 people have been infected with cholera in Zimbabwe. Some 3,325 people have died from the outbreak, which was triggered by the country's economic collapse under the rule of President Robert Mugabe.

Earlier this week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Mugabe has agreed to allow a high-level U.N. team into Zimbabwe to look at ways to alleviate the epidemics of cholera and hunger.

Studio 7 programs are broadcast in English, Shona and Ndebele, Monday through Friday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. (local time in Zimbabwe).

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail