Govt in bid to eradicate cholera by 2030
THE Government will continue implementing short and long term measures to prevent the outbreak of cholera, a disease that is still prevalent in country, with efforts already underway to ensure it is eradicated by 2030, an official has said.
In an interview, head of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Portia Manangazira said measures have been put in place for this year to minimise the disease that is prevalent during the rainy season.
“We have done the intensive phase of the outbreak response to prevent new cases. I am also happy to say delivery of vaccines has been done to the hotspots which are the hardest hit areas around the country. Currently we will be anticipating more cholera cases because of the rain but now because of the effectiveness of the vaccine we know we are not out of trouble but we will anticipate much less intense cholera outbreaks or occurrences, therefore, the whole country has been put on high alert by the Permanent Secretary,” said Dr Manangazira.
She added that in line with the President’s call for the country to attain a middle income economy by 2030, the ministry was coming up with measures that would eradicate the disease by 2030.
“We have a national taskforce on the epidemic disease and in November we sat down to do a review of the outbreak so that we could re-strategise, but also already we have put into plan the long term measures to eliminate cholera.
“So as a country we are looking at cholera elimination by 2030 in line with his Excellency, President Mnangagwa’s vision of making Zimbabwe a middle-income economy by 2030.
“We have also realised that cholera does not belong to a middle-income economy which means development and cholera is not development. In terms of people living in crowded conditions, poverty and unavailability of safe water and solid waste management all these need to be addressed as we embrace the middle-income economy and also as we ensure that we eliminate cholera. Hence, this can be achieved in three to five years when we expect the country to be modernising with proper water, sanitation and hygienic infrastructure in place and corrective action in terms of modernisation,” she said.
Dr Manangazira also noted that the ministry was pleased with the sharp decline in the number of people being admitted in hospitals due to water-borne diseases.
“The daily reports show that cholera cases are declining, this therefore means that slowly but surely the disease will be eradicated. According to the situation report as at 2 January 2019 no cases have been reported from most parts of the country such as Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, and Kadoma among others.
“With last cases being reported on December 30 in Mberengwa, December 26 in Murehwa and Mt Darwin, and we are still watching these places closely. Since the start of the outbreak a cumulative total of 10 630 cases of which 10 338 were suspected and 292 confirmed and this include 65 deaths to date,” she said.
Moreover, the President last year launched the First Friday of the month a national clean-up day in a bid to ensure the country has sustainable environment management and waste disposal systems.
This is in accordance with Section 73 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which guarantees every citizen of Zimbabwe “the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being”.
“We are also taking the lead and supporting the effort by the President as it renders precedence to our cholera elimination plan so as ministry we have also met with head office staff to plan for the 12th Friday of 2019 we are also going to implement our deliberate action of cleanliness in our work places but also take it to our families and communities as part of the national efforts to clean up Zimbabwe.
“We are also fighting against typhoid, bilharzia and other communicable diseases as they are also totally preventable by maintaining cleanliness, clean hands, clean environment etc,” said Dr Manangazira.