Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

World Health Organization scaling up response to fast-moving cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe's capital

Cholera tsunami sweeps across Zimbabwe again!                 Posted Cholera tsunami sweeps across Zimbabwe again! Posted
Gustavo Carr | 16 September, 2018, 18:42

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader has postponed plans for a mock inauguration on Saturday following a police ban on public gatherings as the country battles to contain a cholera outbreak that has killed 26 people. 'WHO is working closely with the national authorities and partners to urgently respond to this outbreak'.

Initial cases of cholera were reported in Gweru and Harare last month and the capital is now the worst affected area. World Health Organization is leading the coordination of the response with technical support from the national rapid response team (NRRT) which includes UNICEF among other partners.

Human rights groups warned that unless urgent action was taken, the current death toll was likely to be as significant as the outbreak in 2008 when more than 4 300 people died of the water borne disease. The outbreak was notified on 6 September 2018.

The government remains on high alert as cholera and typhoid epidemic continues to rise in Harare and other parts of the country. There have been reports of additional suspected cases in Buhera, Chitungwiza, Shamva, Gokwe North, Makoni and Masvingo districts.

The outbreak began on 1 September and as of that date, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reports that there have been almost 2 000 suspected cholera cases, including 58 confirmed ones.

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The first suspected case was reported on 1 September, investigations were conducted on 5 September and the outbreak was confirmed on 6 September by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

The cholera outbreak can be traced to Harare city council's struggle to supply water to some suburbs for more than a decade, forcing residents to rely on water from open wells and community boreholes, according to Reuters news agency. Preliminary estimates suggests that the population at risk in the epicentre is 200,000 people.

Cholera is a major public health problem in the African region and just two weeks ago Health Ministers from the region committed to ending cholera outbreaks by 2030 by implementing key strategies.

Cholera is an acute waterborne diarrhoeal disease that is preventable if people have access to safe water and sanitation and practice good hygiene, but can kill within hours if left untreated. The situation is critical because the country is endemic to cholera.