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Cholera, COVID-19 stalk Zim, Sadc

The aid agency said the situation could become uncontrollable and difficult to manage due to a steady increase in COVID-19 cases.

ZIMBABWE and its neighbours are facing an overwhelming cholera outbreak amid a surge in COVID-19 cases since the onset of the rain season.The current cholera epidemic surfaced in Zimbabwe in February last year and has since affected all the country’s 10 provinces, while approximately 20 000 cases have been confirmed with close to 300 people dying of the disease.

According to Oxfam Southern Africa programmes director, Machinda Marongwe, the extraordinary rate of rise in cases and deaths from cholera is terrifying.“The unprecedented rate of cases and deaths is terrifying, and utterly overwhelming the health systems of these countries. The outbreak is spiralling into an uncontrollable health crisis, and news that health workers in Zambia are also testing positive for COVID-19 calls for an urgent multi-pronged response,” Marongwe said. 

According to Oxfam, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe are facing an unprecedented surge in cholera cases which has overwhelmed their health systems.The aid agency said the situation could become uncontrollable and difficult to manage due to a steady increase in COVID-19 cases.

Oxfam further indicated that the majority of vulnerable communities have no access to clean water and sanitation facilities which are essential to prevent the spread of the water-borne disease.

“Governments and agencies in the region need immediate funding to swiftly implement activities and projects that help to improve people’s hygiene and access to clean water, since these two factors are key in the fight against the spread,” Marongwe said.

Oxfam has been closely working with local partners, government departments and ministries in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe to support affected communities.It has also provided more than 1,5 million people with hygiene kits and access to clean water and drilled and rehabilitated boreholes, installing solar-powered water pumping and distribution systems in public health facilities and markets.

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