BY VENERANDA LANGA
HEALTH minister Obadiah Moyo on Thursday assured Senate that his ministry was prepared to avert any health calamities that may face Cyclone Idai victims, adding that his ministry will soon float a real time gross settlement dollar (RTGS) tender for supply of medicines to assist the affected communities.
“We have been allocated money by the Finance ministry to be able to purchase medicines and have had many well-wishers who have donated medicines which have been shipped to disaster areas,” Moyo said without specifying how much he was allocated by the Finance ministry.
When Cyclone Idai hit Manicaland and other parts of the country, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube allocated $50 million to fund relief efforts.
“We have medical kits available that contain all medicines including aqua tablets for water treatment because we do not want to end up with epidemics, and we have floated a tender for medicines and this is a tender which is going to be awarded on a RTGS$ basis because there are companies in Zimbabwe that can ensure we get more medicines in disaster-hit areas,” he said.
Moyo said the health concerns from Cyclone Idai-hit areas were those of children that had been affected by parasites.
“Immediately we sent de-worming medicines and we have been making all necessary arrangements so that we do not have another catastrophe in the affected areas,” he said.
Calling for more volunteer counsellors to help people who have been traumatised, the minister also said: “On the issue of dead bodies, it is now easier with the team of sniffer dogs from South Africa. Most of the bodies will be decomposed and will be difficult to identify. There will be need for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing and there are two teams of scientists from the National University of Science and Technology and our pathology department to assist in identifying the bodies.”
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said there was also need for mosquito spraying in the cyclone-hit areas to avert malaria, in addition to dealing with waterborne diseases.
Rusike said people with chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, and HIV and Aids will also need urgent support so that they do not miss their treatment and risk developing complications.
“Such groups have difficulty taking medication when they do not have adequate food to eat. While much attention is focused on the devastating impact of the cyclone, there is also need to distribute items such as bed nets and resources for spraying to prevent malaria outbreak in the affected areas,” Rusike said.