By Mashonaland East Correspondent
Zimbabwe has recorded the highest number of cholera-related cases and deaths in the Eastern and Southern Region (ESAR) with 65 deaths and over 10 000 cases reported in the last quarter of 2018.
Thus is according to a recent report by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
The report, released this past week, said Zimbabwe recorded 65 deaths and 10 630 cases since the onset of the most recent cholera disaster 5 September 2018. The report covered 10 ESAR countries.
The 10 countries are; Zimbabwe, Burundi, Angola, Somalia, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia and Uganda. The Eastern and Southern Africa region has 21 countries.
“The cholera burden in ESAR was remarkably heterogeneous with Zimbabwe accounting for the highest case load at 28, 8% (10, 807 cases) followed by Somalia reporting 17, 2% of cases (6, 447),” UNICEF said.
It noted that during week 52 in Zimbabwe, 10 new cases were reported compared to 17 cases including five deaths in week 51. In the Eastern and Southern region, 37 565 cholera cases and 443 deaths were recorded.
“These new cases emerged from Murewa district in Mashonaland East (two cases), Gokwe North in Midlands (seven cases) and Mt Darwin district in Mashonaland Central (one case).
Cumulatively, a total of 10 630 cases including 65 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the new wave of the outbreak on 5 September 2018,” UNICEF noted.
In ESAR urban areas, Zimbabwe also accounted for the highest number of cases with 67, 6% or 10 281 reported cases followed by Uganda with 15, 2% or 2 307 cases.
However, Zimbabwe has made a number of interventions to curb the further spread of the pandemic.
These include reaching nearly one million people through various campaigns in the three new affected districts of Murewa, Mt Darwin and Mberengwa.
Over 200 community health volunteers have been trained while 81 community health clubs have been established.
“A cumulative 17, 301 families received kits, comprising of soap and point of use water treatment. Over 540 000 people were reached with safe water trucking and borehole repairs,” UNICEF said.
However, according to UNICEF in Mt Darwin, artisanal miners were chasing away humanitarian actors who had responded the cholera outbreak in the area.
“The artisanal miners who are the affected population are highly mobile and this is a risk factor to the spread of cholera. High levels of insecurity and fear for attack for humanitarian actors responding to the artisanal miners,” said UNICEF.
The first cholera cases were recorded in the high density suburbs of Budiriro and Glen View in Harare in September last year.