THE prevailing cholera outbreak has claimed over 20 lives with more than 2000 cases having been reported so far across the country, incoming Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has said.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The first Cholera cases were reported last week in Glenview and Budiriro but situation on the ground indicates that the epidemic has spread beyond the capital city.
Briefing Journalists during a tour of Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital better known as Nazareth where some cholera cases are monitored, Dr Moyo declared Harare an unsafe city and urged residents to exercise extreme hygiene.
“I realise that the numbers of cases are growing by the day. And to date there are over 2 000 cases. You know 2 000 cases is quite a big number. And out of the 2 000 cases, there has been a total of 20 deaths. That’s not including what might come out of the situation,” he said.
He further gave a breakdown on the number of cases where Glen View was the most affected.
“On the statistics, Glen View 1 461 cases, Budiriro 534 cases, here at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital 436 cases,” Dr Moyo said.
Government set up teams to contain the accumulating number of cases.
“We are putting plans in action, solutions to the problem. First of all we have thematic teams which are working, which we have put up. They have to look at each individual area and ensuring that their particular area is covered.
“Each and every thematic area. We have had assistance coming from other areas. Like for instance we beefed up the nursing staff at the treatment centres created. We have treatment centres at Budiriro, Glen View and here at BRIDH,” the Health Minister said.
The newly sworn in Health Minister said all hands are on deck to combat this menacing epidemic as several partners have chipped in to assist.
“We have called in our partners who will give us assistance. We are going to use our own resources. At the same time we are going to get assistance from Unicef, MSF, WHO. They are always there to help us. I saw them they are here,” he said. “…As we speak, arrangements are being made, water is going to be brought into the area. People will collect clean water and will also provide short to medium term solution of having water tanks being installed. So unicef, Delta have given that assistance.”
Upon this sad development, Government declared Harare City an emergency disaster area particularly the epicenter Glen View and Budiriro surburbs.
“At the same time we are also going to declare an emergency not for the whole country at this stage but for Harare. We are declaring an emergency for Harare.
“This will enable us to contain the cholera, typhoid and whatever else is going on. We need to have that opportunity to make sure we get rid of the problem as quickly as possible. And like I said, we don’t want any further deaths. So if we don’t create this emergency disaster situation, we carry on having many cases. So this is done to contain and control the diseases in the area of the greater Harare, Glen View and Budiriro in particular.”
Dr Moyo also said most cases stemmed up from Harare, the epicentre.
“According to the report we have received, Harare’s Budiriro and Glen View remain the epicentre like I said. There are people who came from outside Harare and were visiting Budiriro Glen View area. And when they went back, they became sick, for instance, there were two who came to Harare to buy furniture from Murambinda. There is one case who came from Harare to Masvingo and unfortunately died when they got to Masvingo. So in reality according to what we have, its Harare particularly Glen View/Budiriro.”
Dr Moyo also rapped The Harare City Council for letting not replacing water pipes in time.
“We wanted to look at the problems. Why, have we ended up in a situation of this nature. We realised someone was probably sitting on the job and doing their work. And this is one of the issues we want to address in Zimbabwe as a whole as the Ministry of Health.
“We want to make sure that people work and not sit on their laurels. In this particular case, the City of Harare has had a big problem. This problem has arisen as a result of blocked sewers. These were reported and never repaired for at least two months. For two months the work was not done. There was no repair. Now we have ended up with the whole Glen View and Budiriro area affected. As we speak I’m told by the mayor they are busy repairing the blocked sewers,” Dr Moyo said.
Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba confirmed that they are repairing sewer pipes.