Upsurge of cholera cases in Manicaland

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MANICALAND last week recorded an upsurge in suspected cholera cases, resulting in it recording the highest number of cases in the country.

The province had by Wednesday recorded 238 suspected cases, 38 of which were recorded since last week on Saturday.

It had also recorded 46 confirmed cases, just a day after schools opened.

According to the day’s Zimbabwe Situation Report on the water-borne disease, 30 cases were hospitalised in the province on the day.

This has prompted Cabinet to avail funds in order to bolster the country’s response.

Speaking after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said a risk assessment on vaccination against the disease has been completed across the country.

“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that the cholera risk assessment which should guide the application of the Oral Cholera Vaccination has been completed across all the 10 provinces. Active surveillance of points of entry and exit is continuing as part of a multi-sectoral approach in response to the cholera outbreak,” she said.

The surge in cases has also prompted the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to resuscitate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities at schools as the upsurge poses a danger to the general populace.

In an interview on Wednesday, Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba said before school opening day, the ministry advised schools to put in place WASH facilities to ensure that the outbreak does not hit schools.

“We gave a directive to schools that they should ensure that there are safe sources of water and other sanitation points before the opening day and I am glad to inform you that schools followed the instructions.

“As of now, there are no reports of cases in schools and we hope that will continue,” he said.

Mr Shumba said his team is currently visiting schools to check the institutions’ WASH interventions.

He said by Wednesday, he had visited Mahenye Primary, Mahenye Secondary, Chitepo Primary, Chibuwe High and Maparadze Secondary Schools in Chipinge District; adding that he was satisfied with the WASH facilities.

“I was satisfied by what I saw. They have put in place safe water and sanitation facilities at the schools and this will help in decreasing the chances of the outbreak spreading in schools,” he said.

In Mutare, Chancellor Primary School’s headmaster, Mr Masimba Chihowa said: “We did our part in preparing for the return of learners in light of the cholera outbreak and the provision of clean water was our top priority. We are grateful that the local authority has ensured that we have uninterrupted water supply.

“We have also heightened our hygiene levels to ensure that our learners are safe at the school. In the same breadth, we will not be entertaining unnecessary visits by outsiders as we seek to ensure that our teachers and learners are safe,” said Mr Chihowa.

Chikore High School headmistress, Mrs Stella Mudiwa said the institution engaged an Environment Health Technician to help strengthen their WASH facilities.

“Hand sanitisers will be used on entry points because we know we will have learners and people travelling from different areas,” said Mrs Mudiwa.

Zimbabwe has so far recorded 766 cases of cholera, with 671 recoveries and five deaths.

Confirmed deaths have been recorded in Manicaland (two), Mashonaland Central (one), Mashonaland West (one) and Masvingo (one).

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