from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – GOVERNMENT and aid agencies are ramping up efforts to combat the latest outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe.
Some 123 people have died from the water borne disease since the first case was reported in the Chegutu town of Mashonaland West province in February.
Cases have risen to 5 964 around the country as of the time of publishing.
More than 100 individuals were hospitalised, as of October 29.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has allocated ₣464 595 (US$512 000) as part of its response.
This is to benefit over 141 250 people among those affected by the cholera crisis.
The agency has identified a number of gaps which if not addressed, would worsen the outbreak.
These include lack of effective community engagement and accountability/risk communication and community engagement.
Some areas battle to access clean water.
The Africa Health Organisation (AHO) has appealed for more assistance from the humanitarian community.
It is working in collaboration with the Zimbabwean government to provide vital technical assistance and supplies, including water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts.
“Our aim is to contain the outbreak and prevent further loss of life,” said Simbarashe Chifeya, AHO Zimbabwe Country Director.
He described the situation as dire.
“As the cholera outbreak continues to wreak havoc in Zimbabwe, AHO remains steadfast in its commitment to providing technical assistance, supplies, and raising awareness,” Chifeya assured.
The worst outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe, in recent memory, was in 2008 when more than 4 000 people died.
The country’s health sector is facing numerous challenges linked to the economic crisis.
– CAJ News