HomeLocal NewsGovt battles rising cyclone health needs

Govt battles rising cyclone health needs

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BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

HEALTH personnel working in Cyclone Idai-ravaged areas of Chipinge and Chimanimani districts are struggling with disease surveillance and early warning and response (EWR), a situation which could easily degenerate into a crisis.

Following the floods which killed hundreds of people, health needs have been mounting, with workers battling to capture data which was worsened by the destruction of communications infrastructure, making it difficult to get word out of the affected areas.

The Health ministry and with technical support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners recently organised a workshop to equip nurses and data entry clerks with skills on how best they could cope.

The nurses were introduced to a software that allows them to enter day-to-day data notifying the authorities of what was happening on the ground as far as health issues were concerned, as some areas still remain cut off and inaccessible by road.

Manicaland provincial nursing officer Venus Mahati said: “Health workers are struggling to capture data as well as misplacing priority areas when reporting, especially when it comes to communicable diseases. This initiative will strengthen disease early warning, alert and response in emergencies.

“The training workshop will go a long way in terms of informing high authorities on what is happening on the ground as it requires no telephone network or wifi.”

She expressed concern at the growing health needs, especially the risk of an outbreak of waterborne diseases, such as cholera in the affected areas.

Provincial health information officer Gibson Chikono hailed the introduction of integrated Manicaland EWR as data is collected and submitted on time by health staff.

WHO epidemiologist Maxwell Rupfutse said it was possible to quickly adapt to the needs on the ground because it provides real time reporting, which is beneficial to both the government and partners.

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