Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Cholera Attack: Aid agencies step up emergency services in Zimbabwe

Cholera Attack: Aid agencies step up emergency services in Zimbabwe

More than 1,000 Red Cross volunteers are fanning out through the suburbs of Zimbabwe's capital in a bid to contain a deadly cholera outbreak.

Zimbabwe is now experiencing a new cholera outbreak in Harare and other districts.

A cholera outbreak that has so far claimed at least 25 lives in Zimbabwe has forced the country's topmost institution of higher learning, the University of Zimbabwe, to postpone its graduation ceremony which had been slated for Friday.

The MDC accused the government of using the cholera outbreak, which has claimed 25 lives, to stop the mock inauguration at the party's 19th anniversary celebrations in Harare on Saturday.

While the deferment is purely on health grounds, beyond the control of the University, the institution, however, has no reported case of cholera and is now deemed safe, the statement read.

Mapfumo, however, assured the public that the university remained free of the cholera outbreak.

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Last month, 47 African countries committed to ending cholera outbreaks by 2030 at a WHO Regional Committee for Africa summit in Senegal's capital, Dakar. Whilst substantial gains have been achieved in the WASH and Health sectors, the socio-economic situation has resulted in declining government investments in urban water supply and sanitation, which is leading communities to compromise on safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices thereby increasing the risk of WASH related diseases.

It is working with global partners to rapidly expand recommended cholera response actions, including increasing access to clean and safe water in the most affected communities and decommissioning contaminated water supplies.

The current outbreak began on 6 September after water wells were contaminated with sewage in Harare.

Jessica Pwiti, the executive director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe, said it was appalling that people were still dying from a preventable disease in the 21st century. It's an ancient disease, which has been eliminated in many parts of the world.

"No lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic and the outbreak and deaths we're seeing now is symptomatic of a still broken-down sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by a shortage of drugs and medical supplies", she added.

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