Monday, 19 November, 2018

Aid agencies ramp up response to Zimbabwe cholera outbreak

A nurse takes care of a cholera patient at the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare A nurse takes care of a cholera patient at the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare Credit Jekesai Njikizana AFP
Celia Hoffman | 15 September, 2018, 01:06

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said in a statement Wednesday that the ban aims to alleviate "the continuous spread" of cholera in the capital, where the government has declared an emergency. The government and the police are enforcing laws to stop urinating and defecating in public and is sending out text messages, verbal communication via audio and audio visual media to the general public to prevent spread of cholera and typhoid.

"There are now 3,766 cases".

Authorities report that the outbreak began on 1 September in Harare and as of that date to 11 September, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reports that there have been almost 2000 suspected cholera cases, including 58 confirmed cases and 24 deaths.

One school was closed in Glen View.

The main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who visited clinics where cholera patients were being treated earlier on Wednesday, planned to hold a rally on Saturday where he may take a mock presidential oath.

"The current cholera epidemic is a awful outcome of Zimbabwe's failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system".

Zimbabwe, which was ruled by Robert Mugabe from independence in 1980 until his ousting a year ago, suffered its worst cholera outbreak in 2008. According to Moyo broken sewers and poor disposal of the wastes have lead to contamination of the drinking water sources in Harare.

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A total of 4 000 people died and at least 100 000 people fell ill.

"What is more important is for the councils to make sure that sanitation in their area is up to date and that water is clean".

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe, has pledged to revive the economy and improve public services.

Amnesty International castigated the authorities for failing to invest in and manage basic water, sanitation and health care systems even after the 2008 outbreak.

"As the government itself has now admitted, this is a national disaster which requires an immediate and effective response".

She urged the Mnangagwa administration to "learn from its predecessor's mistakes" and act urgently before more lives are lost.

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