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Zimbabwe battles to contain cholera

by Staff reporter
16 Feb 2024 at 05:00hrs | Views
CHOLERA cases in Zimbabwe continue to surge weeks after the country launched a mass oral vaccination exercise to stop the disease from spreading.

A Health and Child Care ministry situational report shows that the country has since recorded 24 525 suspected cholera cases and 457 suspected deaths as of Wednesday this week.

The country recorded the first cholera case in February last year.

"As at 14 February 2024, Zimbabwe had 24 525 suspected Cholera cases, 2 557 confirmed cases, 23 852 recoveries, 71 confirmed deaths and 457 suspected deaths," the report read.

Cholera is now endemic in the country, the worst outbreak having been recorded between 2008 and 2009 when over 4 000 people succumbed to the waterborne disease and nearly 100 000 others were infected.

The outbreak was stopped following the intervention of humanitarian agencies such as the United Nations and its partners. Humanitarian agencies have since intervened again to assist authorities contain the current outbreak which is wreaking havoc across southern Africa.

Poor sanitation and lack of access to clean water have been singled out as among chief causes of the disease as citizens in most urban areas spend days without water.

Harare and Manicaland have been identified as some of the cholera hotspots.

In an interview with NewsDay, Harare mayor Jacob Mafume said the city council has started repairing sewer pipes and supplying water to the city's hotspots.

"We are getting on top of the situation in the sense that we are repairing the sewer pipes in Dzivaresekwa, Kuwadzana and Glen View areas that are hard hit. We are also prioritising the water deliveries that side so that people do not use contaminated water sources," Mafume said.

"We have started the cholera vaccination programme to minimise incidents of cholera and we are putting funds together with the government to minimise the cholera situation."

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged city fathers, the government and other stakeholders to unite for comprehensive anti-cholera fight.

"Only through comprehensive interventions that improve water access, sanitation, hygiene and healthcare capacity can Manicaland truly turn the tide on this persistent cholera outbreak," WHO pointed out in its recent cholera weekly report.

Source - newsday