Medicine

Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe’s capital escalates; 21 dead | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe’s capital escalates; 21 dead | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has risen to 25, the government said Thursday as the World Health Organisation warned that the water-borne disease is spreading rapidly in the capital Harare.

"In light of the declaration of the state of emergency, the police in Harare will not allow any public gatherings", police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said in a statement.

Zimbabwe, which was ruled by Robert Mugabe from independence in 1980 until his ousting previous year, suffered its worst cholera outbreak in 2008.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has been disseminating messages via various media urging people to be on high alert and report any suspected cases of the disease.

Cholera outbreaks have occurred regularly in the city as authorities struggle to provide potable water and sanitation facilities.

The Minister announced that drastic measures including the banning of vending in Glenview and Budiriro as one of the ways to stop the disease's further spread.

The main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who visited clinics where cholera patients were being treated earlier on Wednesday, planned to hold a rally on Saturday where he may take a mock presidential oath.

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"There are now 3,766 cases". Since then, water and sanitation infrastructure has been collapsing. The area is vulnerable to cholera because of inadequate supplies of safe piped water, which has led people to use alternative unsafe supplies such as wells and boreholes.

"As the government itself has now admitted, this is a national disaster which requires an immediate and effective response".

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

It is understood that this current outbreak has been caused by blocked sewers.

The outbreak represents the first serious public health emergency for President Emmerson Mnangagwa following his disputed election at the end of July.

WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care to fight the outbreak by strengthening the coordination of the response and mobilizing national and global health experts to form a cholera surge team.


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