Cholera toll rises to 54 – says health minister

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By Audience Mutema

THE cholera epidemic spread to Buhera last week with five fatalities reported, bringing the nationwide death toll to 54, health minister Obadiah Moyo has confirmed.

He was speaking at Harare’s Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital while receiving cholera donations from local organisations and international development partners last Friday.

“Cholera deaths were stagnant at 49 and, suddenly, these 5 died in Buhera … so it brought our number to 54,” said the minister.

Regarding the donations from international development partners, minister Moro said; “We are not going to give all the donations to Beatrice Infectious Road Hospital.

 “I have heard some rumours that we are only donating to Harare Hospitals, but now we are going to distribute country wide to rural areas.

“We must never forget the rural hospitals. Last time I visited Siyakobvu, they needed help and we should help them.”

Meanwhile, although the death continues to increase, the minister insisted that the government had managed to bring the epidemic under control.

“The system has worked … as we are managing to control cholera and typhoid,” he said.

“We are going to upgrade the primary health facilities so that when patients are transferred, they are referred from a good condition.”

The current cholera outbreak started on last month in Harare’s Budiriro and Glen View suburbs and has since spread around the country with more than 7,000 cases reported.

The government has since declared the epidemic a state of emergency with all public events cancelled. 

A 2008 outbreak infected nearly 100,000 people and led to more than 4,000 deaths.