Cholera Claims 135 Lives In Zimbabwe
15 October 2023
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BIKITA — Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak has now claimed 135 lives (31 confirmed deaths, 104 suspected) and infected nearly 5,000 people across the country.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care reported 48 new suspected cases, three suspected deaths, and three confirmed results on Friday, bringing the total number of suspected cases to 4,908, confirmed cases to 958, and recoveries to 4,659.

The national recovery rate stands at 97%, while 73 patients remain hospitalized.

Health Minister Douglas Mombeshora expressed deep concern over the situation and urged the public to remain vigilant and practice good hygiene.

He said the government was working with various partners to provide adequate resources and expertise to contain the outbreak.

He also emphasized the need for public awareness and swift action to prevent further spread of the disease.

“We are facing a grave situation, and the public must remain informed about the dangers of cholera. It is essential to prioritize hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing with soap, and to ensure that all water sources are clean and safe to consume,” Mombeshora stated.

Cholera is an easily preventable waterborne disease that causes severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. It is spread through contaminated water or food and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

The outbreak has been attributed to the poor sanitation and water supply systems in many urban areas, as well as the lack of preparedness and response capacity of the country’s fragile health system.

Manicaland province, which borders Mozambique, has recorded the highest number of cases – more than 2,000 – according to Friday’s cholera situation report. The government says it has increased cholera surveillance at ports of entry to detect any imported infections.

Other areas such as Bikita in Masvingo province have been declared high-risk zones. In Buhera district, large gatherings have been banned and strict measures have been imposed on funerals to limit the transmission of the disease.

“We are concerned that there is an outbreak. We need to step up our action,” said Public Health Advisor to the President and Cabinet, Agnes Mahomva.

However, some residents have expressed frustration and dissatisfaction with the government’s response, saying it has been slow and inadequate.

Jane Chigumba, a resident of Harare, said she was disheartened by the loss of lives and the lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities. She said she had been dealing with these problems for years and hoped for a lasting solution.

“It’s disheartening to see so many lives affected and lost due to inadequate access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities,” Chigumba said.