Sunday, December 16, 2018
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Public assembly banned in Zimbabwe capital amid cholera outbreak

No public gatherings allowed as part of an emergency response to the outbreak that has killed 21 people so far.

Authorities in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, banned public gatherings as part of efforts to contain a cholera outbreak that has killed 21 people over the past week. 

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Zimbabwe Republic Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba asked residents to "take heed" of the ruling, which came after health officials identified more than 3,000 suspected cases of the waterborne disease.

"The government has declared the cholera outbreak in Harare a state of emergency, meaning that it is also a threat to human security," Charamba said.

Outbreaks of cholera occur regularly in Zimbabwe because of dilapidated water and sanitation facilities. Informal housing areas without running water have mushroomed and basic infrastructure has collapsed after years of neglect.

Examination of water samples from some wells and boreholes in Harare, home to swaths of slum-like housing, tested positive for contamination with the disease.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo declared a state of emergency in the city. "The number of cases are growing by the day," he said, adding the outbreak was caused by "blocked sewers".

Preventable disease

Cholera, which can kill within hours if untreated, is caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

According to the World Health Organization, it is "easily treatable" and even preventable if there is "universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation".

More than 4,000 people were killed by the disease during an outbreak in Zimbabwe a decade ago.

Newly installed President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has pledged to revive Zimbabwe's ailing economy and improve public services, said officials were working to "contain and overcome" the most recent outbreak.

"I urge all residents of affected areas to exercise extra care with their hygiene & follow the instructions of the authorities," Mnangagwa said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

'No lessons learned'

Under former leader Robert Mugabe, who was in power from Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 until being removed from office by the military late last year, corruption and economic mismanagement were endemic.

The United Nations Human Development Index - which measures health, education and economic performance - ranks Zimbabwe 154 out of 188 countries.

Amnesty International said the country's most recent outbreak of cholera was a consequence of its "failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its healthcare system".

"It is appalling that in 2018 people are still dying of such a preventable disease," Jessia Pwiti, Amnesty's executive director for Zimbabwe, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"No lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic and the outbreak and deaths we're seeing now is symptomatic of a still broken-down sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by a shortage of drugs and medical supplies," she added.

Last month, 47 African countries committed to ending cholera outbreaks by 2030 at a WHO Regional Committee for Africa summit in Senegal's capital, Dakar.

"Cholera is a symbol of inequity. It's an ancient disease, which has been eliminated in many parts of the world. Every death from cholera is preventable," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO director for Africa, said.

In 2017, more than 150,000 cholera cases were reported in 17 countries throughout Africa, according to the WHO.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

DRC opposition picks Martin Fayulu ...

Read More

Who is Martin Fayulu, the DRC oppos...

Read More

Hospitalised Gabon leader Ali Bongo...

Read More

Former president alleges fraud in M...

Read More

Madagascar presidential election: W...

Read More

Polls close in high-stakes Madagasc...

Read More

Most Read Articles

Most Read News

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Israel pounds Gaza

India's Kerala state devastated

Capturing life under apartheid