Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe's capital escalates; 21 dead

Mnangagwa

In a statement, ZRP Spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba appealed to members of the public to take heed of the warning and cooperate as this will assist in alleviating the spread of the disease that has already killed 21 people and affected thousands. The government and the police are enforcing laws to stop urinating and defecating in public and is sending out text messages, verbal communication via audio and audio visual media to the general public to prevent spread of cholera and typhoid.

More than 4,000 people died in a cholera outbreak at the height of the southern African country's economic problems in 2008.

One school was closed in Glen View.

Plans by Zimbabwe's main opposition party to conduct a mock inauguration ceremony for its candidate Nelson Chamisa on Saturday may be affected by Wednesday's ban on all public gatherings in the capital Harare.

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

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The Minister of Health Obadiah Moyo told a meeting of government departments dealing with the outbreak that more than 3,000 people had been infected by cholera and the disease had now spread outside the capital. 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.

Such outbreaks are common as local authorities are battling to provide potable water and sanitation facilities in the city, where slums without running water have mushroomed and whose infrastructure is falling apart due to years of neglect.

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 worldwide health experts to form a cholera surge team.

"But no lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic, and the outbreak and deaths we're seeing now is symptomatic of a still-broken sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by shortages of drugs and medical supplies".

She urged the Mnangagwa administration to "learn from its predecessor's mistakes" and act urgently before more lives are lost.

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