BY VANESSA GONYE/VENERANDA LANGA
THE Health ministry says it is making frantic efforts to prevent possible cholera and typhoid outbreaks in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces that were affected by Cyclone Idai as well as ensure an adequate supply of life-saving medicines.
Speaking at the handover of a donation of medical supplies by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Health minister Obadiah Moyo pleaded for support from the international community and said the nation requires more supplies to help prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases.
“This donation comes in handy as we are mobilising more medicines, especially for possible disease outbreaks. We want to prevent waterborne diseases. We want to prevent all that,”he said.
“I have been informed that children are being affected by parasites. We need to get more donations so that they are treated. We still need more.”
Moyo applauded the gesture by the Red Cross, saying abundant medication was one of the most important things needed in times of crises.
He said his ministry was also making efforts to ensure adequate supply of drugs for chronically ill patients because they lost all their stock to the cyclone.
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society finance director Morris Machawira said his organisation would continue to assist until the situation normalises.
“Our auxiliary role is to complement government efforts in times of disaster; we have been on the ground and we will continue assisting the government together with our partners,” he said.
Moyo’s call for more medical donations comes as the Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) revealed that several of their members in Chimanimani were defaulting on treatment.
Tonderai Chiduku, the ZNPP+ HIV intellectual property officer, recently told NewsDay that some of the people marooned in Chimanimani were not receiving anti-retroviral therapy and tuberculosis drugs, adding that their lives were in danger.
“Some of the people that have been marooned in Chimanimani and other parts of the country have sent SOS messages asking for help after their medicines were washed away by the floods, and they cannot go to any treatment centres to get replacements,” Chiduku said.
“We appeal to different institutions to assist our membership so that they can be evacuated from the flooded places and administered medicines as soon as possible because their lives are in danger.”
If people living with HIV and TB defaulted on medicines, the danger was that they would develop drug resistant tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections, which would burden government, Chiduku added.
Meanwhile, ICRC is calling on people to refer anyone looking for assistance to find their families affected by Cyclone Idai to log on to their Restoring Family links website, https://familylinks.icrc.org/cyclone-idai, where they can register themselves and the family member they are looking for.