HARARE City Council’s health services director Prosper Chonzi yesterday confirmed a cholera outbreak in the capital, and urged residents to help in keeping the disease under control.
“We now have 21 cases, seven confirmed cases and these are mainly coming from the western suburbs,” Chonzi said.
“Budiriro has four confirmed cases, Glen View 3 has two, and one from Mt Pleasant Heights. What this means is that we should take this outbreak seriously because it has the potential to spread like a veld fire. We need to be on high alert.”
This came as health experts warned that the cholera outbreak may end up developing into an uncontrollable epidemic if there is no decisive response to it.
The first cholera case was reported on February 12 this year in Chegutu, Mashonaland West province, but the waterborne disease has since spread to nine of the country’s 10 provinces.
While no case has been detected in Matabeleland North, neighbouring Matabeleland South is emerging as a hotspot.
Speaking to NewsDay yesterday, Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the continued presence of cholera is a cause for concern.
“The people of Zimbabwe should be worried by the continued presence of cholera in the country given that the health system has been weakened by the lack of sustainable domestic health financing, hyperinflation and outflow of health workers,” Rusike said.
The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) has embarked on a project to strengthen
accountability for COVID-19 resources and equitable access to vaccines as the country battles
with the pandemic that has claimed millions of lives across the globe.
The two-year project, Accountable and Transparent COVID-19 Finances and Equitable Access to
Vaccines in Zimbabwe, is meant to stimulate dialogue through advocacy to policy makers,
decision-makers in health and social services and the media to improve accountability for COVID19 and equitable access to vaccines in the country.
Funded by the Nigerian-based Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), the project emphasizes on
improving health literacy, health financing and financial literacy to enhance appreciation across
all levels that a stronger and more resilient health system is better placed to respond to COVID19 pandemic challenges while ensuring continuity of operations to address other health needs of
Key issues affecting access to vaccines by communities will be raised and thus generating
evidence on bottlenecks and increase national dialogue with the view to influence policy
implementation for better access to vaccines. The evidence will be used to argue for improved
domestic funding for health in order to reduce health system fragility to better address the
current public health treats while adequately handling the disease burden.
The initiative is tailored to promote community-driven compliance and adherence to
recommended public health and social measures of COVID-19 while holding government
accountable for sustainable response to the pandemic. This involves monitoring disbursements
made to the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) ensuring that the allocated resources are
used to respond to COVID-19 and assessing measures put in place to ensure continuity of other
health services mid-pandemic.
The media will be capacitated to play a key role in the implementation of this strategy to inform
the decision makers and communities and advance the desired changes.
Zimbabwe has to date 264,127 confirmed cases, 5672 deaths and a total of 13,491,312 vaccine
doses have been administered. The government has been a major funder of the response to
Covid-19 committing at least USD$100 million for vaccine procurement. However, donors and
partners including the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF and governments
such as China, the United Kingdom have also contributed significant amounts.
However, the government has failed to convincingly account for use of funds received in
responding to COVID-19. This is the part of the wider health/financial literacy deficiencies that
require urgent addressing if the response is to benefit the intended beneficiaries.
Civil society has been on forefront demanding accountability through the various platforms that
have been made available since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) is a network of national membership based civil
society and community based organization who aim to collectively enhance community participation in
health in Zimbabwe.
For further information, please contact:
Itai Rusike (Mr)
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH)
4 O’connor Crescent, Cranborne
Mobile: +263 77236 3991 / 0719363991
“Health is Your Right and Responsibility”