10-year plan to eliminate cholera

BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE

A 10-YEAR project plan to eliminate cholera in Zimbabwe has commenced, with Cholera Secretariat Zimbabwe, an organisation established to tackle long term causes of cholera, leading the campaign to end the disease by year 2028.

Speaking to NewsDay Weekender on the sidelines of a two-day workshop in Harare this week, chief executive officer of the secretariat, Farai Charasika, said the 10-year plan sought to eliminate cholera outbreaks countrywide.

“The workshop we are having today is part of a process in terms of coming up with a national plan of combating cholera in Zimbabwe, which is built around five
key points,” he said.

“When establishing on how long it would potentially take to combat cholera in Zimbabwe, a number of issues come to light. We, especially, take cognisance of
the fact that there is a lot of heavy lifting that is involved, which includes building of new dams and infrastructure, thereby making it a long-term
development project.”

Charasika said the plan was aimed at containing cholera through addressing the underlying issues causing the disease outbreak, which included provision of
water infrastructure, especially in areas where the disease had had outbreaks.

“What we would like to do now is to, at least, be able to contain new outbreaks. But we know that to address the underlying issues, it means there is need to
provide new infrastructure to unserviced neighbourhoods, which cannot be done in a short time. Ideally, we want to have completed these services by 2025,” he
said.

Charasika said the plan was also working in line with the development issues of the country towards achieving Vision 2030, by getting globally certified to be
cholera-free in the last three years of the project.

“The way a country is certified as having eliminated cholera is that for three years, it must have no outbreaks, but must be able to demonstrate that it has
all the surveillance and monitoring systems in place,” he said.

“Actually, by 2025 is when we need to have everything in place and then for three years, we must demonstrate that our systems are working and there is no
cholera to get our global certification.”

Charasika also said the plan, while majorly focused on eliminating cholera, was also working on combating other waterborne diseases, which included typhoid.

The project hopes to achieve this through an all-inclusive platform, which requires input from all sectors in the country, government and private sector.

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