CONFIRMED cholera cases have risen to 12 while three more suspected cases at Birchenough Bridge were still to be verified, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has said.
Phyllis Mbanje/Jairos Saunyama
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Parirenyatwa expressed concern that the government could fail to control the outbreak in congested cities such as Harare where there were chronic water and sewer challenges.
“Zimbabwe shares a long border with Mozambique (41 people have died of cholera in that country) in the eastern part and the four border provinces, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Central and Manicaland, have been put on high alert,” Parirenyatwa said.
“Prevention of cholera is rooted on access to clean water and good hygienic standards, but currently Harare is battling a major water problem.”
The disease can be transmitted through water and fresh foods especially fruits, fish and meat and pre-cooked food sold in the open. Zimbabwe experienced its worst cholera outbreak between August 2008 and July 2009 when almost 100 000 cases and 5 000 deaths were reported in 55 of the country’s 63 districts.
Following the confirmation of cholera cases in Mudzi, Chipinge and Beitbridge, surveillance and response activities have been activated including pre-positioning of cholera supplies.
Government has in the meantime set up three treatment clinics and rolled out massive awareness campaigns against the diseease in Mashonaland East Province.
Provincial medical director Simukai Zizhou yesterday told NewsDay that no fresh cases had been recorded while cholera patients detained in hospital last week had been treated and discharged.
The recent recurrence of cholera in the country especially in Mudzi has been attributed to the current outbreak of the disease in neighbouring Mozambique.
Malawi, whose nationals also use the Nyamapanda border post in Mudzi, has to date registered 60 cases with two deaths since its first confirmed cases last month.
All the cases were related to the outbreak in Tete Province, Mozambique.