Govt seeks $57m cholera war chest

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter

Government has launched an appeal for $57 million to contain the cholera outbreak, which has so far claimed 30 lives and left 5 000 people seeking treatment.

Officially launching the appeal in Harare yesterday, chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee on cholera Cde July Moyo said the health sector requires at least $51 million to assist about 50 000 patients.

Local authorities, he said, require at least $6 million to revamp sewer and water reticulation infrastructure in the hotspots of Glen View and Budiriro, Harare.

Cde Moyo — who is Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister — said a detailed list of requirements and the final figure would be released today.

“The health sector had put in a budget of $63 million, but some monies have since come in from other partners, leaving a gap of $51 million.

“The immediate requirement for infrastructure for Harare was $12 million, but we have also since received about $6,2 million from Government but gaps still exist. This ($12 million) will enable water to start flowing in the hotspot areas.”

Cde Moyo said once a consolidated list of requirements was approved by Cabinet, the final figure and details of where to channel all donations would be availed.

The minister said local authorities were faced with a number of challenges, which include, “illegal” settlements, where provision of services such as potable water and garbage collection is limited.

He said the areas also had contaminated water sources i.e boreholes, old sewer and water reticulation systems and rampant food vending.

Minister Moyo said Government has however, put in place a number of initiatives to respond to these challenges.

These measures, according to Minister Moyo, include infrastructure maintenance, intensification of health education, setting up of cholera treatment camps and dealing with vendors.

“My appeal is in two forms, material and financial support to plug the gaps we have.

“We need assistance to cover the gap that is there in upgrading the sewer and water system. We also need assistance on refuse collection and solid waste management,” said Minister Moyo.

Speaking at the same occasion, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the current cholera outbreak was becoming difficult to contain because of the dual existence of bacteria that causes typhoid and that which causes cholera, coupled with increased cases of drug-resistant cholera and typhoid.

“The emergency of antimicrobial resistance has been threatening current efforts to contain both typhoid and cholera outbreaks, Alternative antibiotics are expensive and not easily available. The situation has been further complicated by some patients affected by both vibrio (bacteria that causes cholera) and salmonella (bacteria that causes typhoid) as well as E coli (another bacteria).

“This could have contributed to the increased deaths at the onset of the outbreak,” said Dr Moyo.

Dr Moyo said a number of organisations, corporates and even Zimbabweans living in the diaspora had since availed their assistance in the fight against cholera and typhoid.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, as of yesterday, 30 people had died of cholera while 5 836 others were treated of suspected cholera.

Of the 30 people who died, 20 died within a health facility. Although suspected cases have since spread to other parts of the country such as Chitungwiza, Buhera, Gokwe, Shamva, Masvingo and Bulawayo, the epicentre remained Glen View and Budiriro.

On typhoid, 11 deaths and 6 675 cases were recorded in Harare and Gweru.

Typhoid and cholera are both water and food borne diseases, which are caused by consuming food or water contaminated with feacal matter. Both diseases are highly infectious and can pass on from one person to the other, if proper hygienic practices are not adhered to.

Source :

The Herald

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