NEW cholera cases are now decreasing, especially in Harare, following the implementation of a cocktail of measures by Government as well as better supplies of clean water and medicines, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora has said.
New cases have fallen from a high of 1 744 recorded a fortnight ago to 1 520 during the same period last week, which the Minister described as a step in the right direction but still not yet good enough.
He was speaking in Harare on Tuesday during the handover of a consignment of cholera case management supplies donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) worth over US$285 000 and including drugs, equipment, laboratory supplies, tents and WASH items.
Dr Mombeshora said although the decrease was not good enough, it was surely a step in the right direction and a clear indication that Government’s interventions were bearing fruit.
“At the moment we are not happy as the figures are still high although comparing figures up to a fortnight ago when we had 1 744 and last week we had 1 520 new cases in one week countrywide. We have seen a decrease in cases mostly in Harare, with Kuwadzana recording 60 cases.
“The challenges we had in Kuwadzana were related to clean water supply. The Government intervened through the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. They were able to repair the main electricity line dedicated to our water treatment plant two weeks ago,” he said.
The Minister said President Mnangagwa’s administration was working flat out to provide the necessary services as well as implement measures to ensure the epidemic was decisively dealt with. So we are now hoping that fresh water will be availed more frequently than what it was. The repair of the main line by the Ministry of Energy might be the main reason for the decline in cholera cases.
“We were also given donations by CIMAS and we took it all to cater for cholera patients and prevention against it in Kuwadzana,” he said.
“The changes we have seen in Buhera are because of those efforts that we have done.”
Dr Mombeshora said although some religious groups were making it difficult for President Mnangagwa’s administration to deal with the infectious disease, the Ministry would continue carrying out awareness programmes.
“We have a huge challenge in Manicaland mainly in the rural areas with most cases coming from the Apostolic Faith who do not believe in getting medical treatment and the delay of others seeking medical help causing the mortality rate to go up.
“We have scaled up our interventions there by drilling boreholes to supply fresh water and also increasing health education in schools and in the community especially traditional healers and politicians”.
Dr Mombeshora thanked the WHO saying it was heartening to note that they continued to stand by Zimbabwe through it all.
“Thank you very much for this huge donation, it is going to make a huge difference in our approach to bring cholera to an end as soon as possible. Our relationship with WHO goes back a long way and they have been with us the whole way in this journey. Due to this donation we should be seeing the cases decreasing and we will be on top of the situation,” he said.
WHO’s Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti said WHO was committed to assisting Zimbabwe until cholera has been ended. They were working with Government to ensure the outbreak is ended “as soon as possible”.
“I am very pleased that not only are we providing the technical support and working with other partners to be able to provide materials and equipment that will help in responding to this cholera outbreak.
“There is work to be done together in terms of preparedness for a recurrent outbreak in future because this is not the first outbreak,” she said.