ZIMBABWE Harare declares state of emergency as cholera cases and deaths rise.

ZIMBABWE Harare declares state of emergency as cholera cases and deaths rise
Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, has officially declared a state of emergency in response to a cholera outbreak that has claimed numerous lives, with confirmed cases on the rise. Since the initial confirmation of the outbreak in February of this year, Harare has reported 12 deaths and recorded 123 cases on Thursday, according to the Health Ministry.

Harare’s Mayor, Ian Makone, emphasized the severity of the situation, stating, “The situation is dire, and we have declared a state of emergency in Harare. When you have 10 people dying and a hundred cases being recorded, it calls for action.” Currently, 16 individuals are hospitalized in the capital.

Zimbabwe, grappling with inadequate sanitation infrastructure and limited access to clean water, is struggling to control the waterborne disease. Makone highlighted ongoing efforts, mentioning the provision of clean water in suburbs and collaboration with the health ministry and non-governmental organizations.

In an effort to contain the outbreak, Makone advised the public to avoid open-air markets, unlicensed vendors, and outdoor church camps with limited sanitation facilities.

The cholera outbreak was initially recorded on February 12, 2023, in Chegutu town, Mashonaland West Province. The latest Health Ministry report indicates suspected and confirmed cases in 46 districts across all 10 provinces of the country. As of November 16, 2023, a cumulative total of 7,751 suspected cholera cases, 51 laboratory-confirmed deaths, 146 suspected cholera deaths, and 1,217 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported.

The outbreak has expanded beyond the 17 traditional cholera hot spot districts. The largest cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe occurred between August 2008 and July 2009, recording 98,592 cases and 4,288 deaths. Amnesty International, in 2008, attributed the government’s failure to manage the cholera outbreak to a lack of safe drinking water supply and broken-down sanitation systems.

In response to the current outbreak, the government has implemented restrictions in vulnerable areas, limiting funerals to 50 people and prohibiting handshakes or serving food at gatherings to curb the spread of the disease.
Source – newzimbabwe

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