US health experts for Cholera hit Harare

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By Leopold Munhende

MEDICAL experts from the United States of America (USA) were expected in Zimbabwe on Wednesday to assist in fighting the current cholera outbreak in Harare, US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols has said.

The experts are from the US’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC), which according to its website, is America’s arm of defence against health, safety and security threats.

“Our focus is on engaging and helping the people of Zimbabwe; we are working to deal with the cholera outbreak here in Zimbabwe.

“We have a team of experts from the centre for disease control, two of them are on the ground, three are flying right now to get here in addition to our normal contingent to help deal with issues to do with water sanitation and immunisation,” said Nichols.

America has invested nearly $100 million yearly in Zimbabwe’s public health system and are expected to provide about $150 million in aid to Harare by end of the 2018 fiscal year.

Zimbabwe is also a participant in the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The country’s economic turmoil that has gone on for nearly two decades and failure to manage the health system has impacted negatively on public health with top politicians often flying out to access better managed hospitals abroad.

Harare is currently overwhelmed by a cholera outbreak with the death toll said to have hit 49 as of Wednesday. Suspected cases of the deadly disease have almost reached 7 000.

Although new cases have been on a decline, according to the Ministry of Health, the scourge has spread from its Glenview, Budiriro epicentre in Harare to other towns such as Chitungwiza, Kwekwe, Bulawayo, Rusape and Masvingo.

Suspected cases in Bulawayo, Masvingo and Rusape have however been contained.
The United Nations and its agencies, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Highlife Foundation are some of the Non-Governmental Organisations which have offered assistance in curbing the spread of the disease.