Government is on high alert to contain any cholera outbreak in the eastern parts of the country following confirmation of the disease in Beira, Mozambique, in the past few days.
The outbreak followed the Cyclone Idai disaster that hit Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi recently. Following the disaster, most water bodies were contaminated thereby raising fears of a potential outbreak of water-borne diseases.
Briefing journalists after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Local Government, National Housing and Public Works Minister July Moyo said Government was aware of the outbreak of cholera in Mozambique and Government had already taken precautionary measures.
“Clean water yes. We are worried about clean water because boreholes have been damaged and in the towns of Chipinge the water system was damaged,” said Minister Moyo.
“In Ngangu area in Chimanimani and Machongwe area, all these areas where we had water reticulation supplies either by Zinwa (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) or DDF (District Development Fund) damage has been done.
“Thats why the Minister of Finance (Professor Mthuli Ncube) in his first $50 million that he gave, he particularly said water must be restored, so $3,8 million was allocated for water restoration. In addition to that, our priority was to drop these pills by Unicef that you can put in your water. We are using helicopters to carry these pills to centres.
“We are aware that cholera can in fact happen. In Beira the declaration of a cholera disaster is already there and as it is we think it might move to our area and we have already taken precautions and we continue to ask for assistance in the area of purification.”
With regards to the national consolidated Cyclone Idai disaster appeal, Minister Moyo said:
“After Cabinet we were working on that consolidated appeal which will go in the name of the President and we hope that it will be done as soon as possible. We have already informed all the ambassadors through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that our consolidated appeal is coming.
“Our consolidated appeal will also be going out because we have been having a lot of people helping us and they been bringing food or other non-food items but in the consolidated appeal we will be able to indicate what are the gaps because of the ongoing disaster that is unfolding.”
Minister Moyo said anyone including political parties was free to come and assist in the distribution of food aid in the affected areas.
Meanwhile, Government has started rolling out the second dose of cholera vaccination, which is expected to reach over one million people in the country’s cholera hotspots.
Director of epidemiology and disease control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Portia Manangazira said the exercise began on Wednesday. The Herald