Zimbabwe cholera death toll rallies

Zimbabwe cholera death toll rallies
Published: 14 September 2018 (152 Views)
THE death toll due to the cholera outbreak that has hit Harare and other parts of the country has increased to 25, with more than 3 700 people hospitalised as government availed a paltry $1 million to fight the disease.

Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and acting town clerk, Hosiah Chisango said government had availed

$1 million towards the pandemic while council has moved in to deal with sewer bursts and other public health challenges that have been linked to the outbreak.

"We are working 24/7 and our teams are working so hard to contain the situation.

We have government coming in in a big way and we really appreciate the gesture we have received so far," Gomba said.

"We are working so hard to ensure we stop further spread of the disease and also curb deaths by all account.

We are grateful to government, our parent ministry, the Ministry of Health as well as other agencies that have come in."

Besides government, the presidential fund also donated $100 000 towards the fight against cholera and telecommunications operator Econet Wireless also came in with $10 million.

Early this week, government declared the outbreak a state of emergency.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday called for more corporate bodies to chip in with resources to fight cholera

"Meanwhile, let me assure you the nation that the health and well-being of every citizen throughout the country will remain a top priority under my administration," he said in Bulawayo.

"I also call on local authorities to ensure responsive, efficient and consistent waste management systems in all areas throughout the country."

The University of Zimbabwe yesterday postponed this year's graduation, which was set for today.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Paul Mapfumo made the announcement to graduands who had turned up for rehearsals at the country's oldest university ahead of the graduation.

The new graduation date will be announced in due course.

However, some students who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity complained over the late notice, saying they had used a lot of money to bring some relatives, with some coming from rural areas.

The Primary and Secondary Education ministry has also cancelled World Literacy Day commemorations, which were scheduled for today at St Albert's Mission in Centenary, Mashonaland Central province, today due to the cholera outbreak.

Amnesty International said the outbreak highlighted lack of investment in infrastructure and health system.

Initial cases of cholera were reported in Gweru and Harare last month and the capital is now the worst affected area.

The 2008 cholera outbreak, which claimed over 4 500 lives, was the largest ever recorded in Zimbabwe.

"Unless urgent action is taken, the death toll of this current epidemic is also likely to be significant.

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

It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease," Amnesty International Zimbabwe executive director, Jessica Pwiti said.

Harare Residents' Trust director Precious Shumba accused council of misplaced priorities, resulting in the outbreak.

Speaking during an Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Conversations, Shumba said the existing infrastructure could no longer sustain sprouting residential areas, resulting in unending burst sewer pipes and poor service delivery.

"What we are a witnessing is a total overthrow of urban planning regulations where people are using their power to gain popularity instead of serving the people," he said.

"The cholera outbreak that we are having right now is as a result of negligence by council.

They have failed to give protective clothing to their health workers, but you see their top management driving state-of-the-art vehicles and going on trips to Victoria Falls, yet they are not attending to the needs of the people."

Harare City spokesperson Michael Chideme said a holistic approach was needed to deal with cholera, with all stakeholders coming on board to put measures to end primitive diseases.

- newsday

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