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Zimbabwe government says it is revamping Harare
public sewer systems key to end cholera epidemic

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe government said Tuesday redesigning of water and sewer pipes is the only long-term solution to stop the recurrence of cholera outbreaks in the country.

A cholera outbreak that has killed 30 people and infected more than 5,000 others has gripped Harare, the second such major outbreak in the country since 2008 when 4,000 people died from the water borne disease.

The Harare outbreak started at the beginning of this month and has since spread to other parts of the country.

The outbreak is linked to borehole water contaminated with sewer from burst pipes.

The Harare city council has been failing to provide potable water form some time, forcing residents to rely on unsafe water from community boreholes and open wells.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists that cabinet resolved at its Monday meeting that sewer and water reticulation infrastructure should be redesigned to avert outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases in the future.

"Cabinet resolved that a two-pronged approach be taken to deal with the outbreak of the cholera epidemic, namely the ongoing implementation of interventions to address the current outbreak and the implementation of long-term measures centered on the provision of adequate clean water and upgrading of both water and sewer reticulation systems," she said.

She said cabinet had also resolved that resources be mobilized from external partners to modernize the water and sewer reticulation systems as well as address the challenge of illegal and unserviced human settlements in urban areas.

Mutsvangwa said cabinet also established an inter-ministerial committee to spearhead implementation of short and long-term measures to address cholera outbreaks in the country.

The government has since launched a 57 million U.S. dollars appeal to contain the outbreak with some of the financial resources earmarked towards revamping water and sewer infrastructure in cholera hot-spots.


Zimbabwe health ministry says cholera outbreak has been contained

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The health ministry of Zimbabwe said Wednesday it has managed to contain the cholera outbreak in the capital Harare that has so far killed 32 people and infected 7,000 others.

Deputy health minister John Mangwiro told a joint press conference that the number of recorded cases was declining from about 500 per day at peak to about 100 now.

The outbreak first broke out in Harare’s high density suburbs of Glen View and Budiriro early this month but has spread to other parts of the country.

The outbreak is linked to use of contaminated water due to burst sewer pipes.

"We have managed to contain the outbreak for now due to our interventions.

"We are still recording a few cases but the curve is now going down which shows that our interventions are working," Mangwiro said.

Government declared the outbreak a state of emergency on Sept. 12 and has appealed for financial and non-financial assistance to fight the epidemic.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said government had so far received 29 million dollars out of the 64 million dollars that it requires to respond to the epidemic in the immediate, medium and long-term.

Government had availed 15.7 million dollars out of the 29 million dollars raised so far while development partners and the private sector chipped in with the remainder, Ncube said.

"Out of the 29 million dollars, 25.4 million is for immediate use and the remainder will go towards medium and long-term issues.

"We have a funding gap of 35 million dollars that need to be raised," he said.

He thanked all those that have donated towards the cholera fight through the crowd funding initiative established by his ministry.

"We are very grateful for the donations and we hope that more assistance will continue to come," he said.

Outbreaks of water-borne diseases continue to recur in Zimbabwe’s urban cities due to ageing water and sewer reticulation infrastructure.

Government has noted that redesigning and modernization of water and sewer infrastructure is the only long-term solution to stop the recurrence of the water-borne diseases.

The country’s last major cholera outbreak occurred in 2008 when 4,000 people died from the disease.


Zimbabwe president approves US $64 million dollars budget to fight cholera

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has approved a 64 million U.S. dollars budget for immediate needs in the fight against a cholera outbreak that has so far killed at least 30 people in the capital Harare, a Cabinet minister has said.

Funds will also be used to fight typhoid which has also hit the city and other parts of the country, chairperson of the Cabinet committee on emergency preparedness and disaster management July Moyo told state run newspaper Herald.

It is anticipated that well-wishers will donate to the fund, with donations such as fuel, protective clothing, cean up tools, refuse receptacles, food and water purification chemicals being channeled through the Harare Town Clerk’s office.

He said cash donations should be made to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, whose minister Mthuli Ncube last week announced the establishment of a crowd funding initiative to help fight the outbreak.

Moyo said government interventions followed Mnangagwa’s declaration of the outbreak as a state of disaster on Sept. 12.

"Pursuant to this development, our preparedness in terms of geographical coverage is national while in terms of response more focus will be on the cholera hotspots," he said.

He said in the worst case scenario an estimated 100,000 people, including those in transit, could be affected, but the most likely scenario was about 50,000.

The worst cholera outbreak to hit the country took place from Aug. 2008 to June 2009 when 98,596 cases of cholera were reported, resulting in 4,369 deaths.

Zimbabwean capital Harare city suspends four officials

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s capital Harare City Council has suspended four officials from the Harare Water Department on allegations of trying to benefit from donations meant to assist the country in fighting the current cholera outbreak which has so far claimed at least 30 lives.

Council spokesperson Michael Chideme confirmed to Xinhua in an interview Wednesday that the four employees had been sent home following the allegations leveled against them.

Econet Wireless Group founder and chairman Strive Masiyiwa said on Monday that when his group set aside 10 million U.S. dollars to help fight the outbreak, some people decided to benefit from the donation by at times inflating prices of consumables.

"One of the saddest things that happened last week when Econet announced that it had set aside 10 million dollars to help with support to buy medicines and materials, was the number of suppliers, and even officials in some of the affected municipalities who tried to defraud our company by offering things at highly inflated prices!"

He said he had told Econet officials to prepare lists of anyone who willfully tried to exploit the situation.

"After this crisis is over we will go after them on this platform.

"Naming and shaming them," he said on his blog.

Zambia concerned over cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government on Tuesday expressed concern over the outbreak of cholera in neighboring Zimbabwe, saying the outbreak could spill over.

Cholera has broken out in Zimbabwe and has so far claimed about 30 lives while thousands of cases have been recorded.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Vincent Mwale said the cholera outbreak in the neighboring country was a source of concern because of the shared border.

He has since called for concerted efforts to keep the surroundings clean. He further said a ministerial committee on epidemic outbreaks will meet this week.

"It is about cleanliness and how we take care of our environment. It is possible that we can have cholera. Things that need to be done are very clear to us," he said.

The Zambian minister however said there is currently no cholera outbreak in the country.


Zimbabwe: 30 cholera death toll and 5,463 new cases reported


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