Water & sanitation: WV Mozambique helps keep cholera in check

A recent report has concluded that only 37% of the Mozambique population have access to potable water. For many areas of rural Tete this reality is much higher.
While the Government of Mozambique has a very strong Rural Water Policy, which instigates Community Water Committees for every new borehole opened, many communities have broken or contaminated water points that have lain in disrepair for years.

After the 2001 floods, WV-Moz constructed 7 new boreholes in Mutarara district. These were constructed in the various resettlement centers where WV-Moz was implementing Food For Work (FFW) programmes. These water sources are now vital to the communities who are facing increased problems in accessing sufficient potable water. For those less fortunate it may be a distance of 3-5 km to collect water.

WV-Moz's contribution in the area of Water and Sanitation has been pivotal in the prevention of water borne diseases such as cholera. In fact, the health authorities have recently noted that there has been a decrease in the number of fatal cholera cases.

Mozambique's Ministry of Health says that the outbreak of cholera, which appears to be deteriorating with the onset of the rainy since and has for the past five months killed up to 30 people, is "under control". National Deputy Health Director Avertino Barreto has described the current situation as "far better than at the same time last year" as the number of deaths occurred through cholera corresponds to a mere 1,3 per cent of the 2 000 cases thus far recorded.

The Mozambican health authorities argue that this is most likely due to local communities being better prepared and capable to tackle the deadly disease. This includes basic, proper and sound hygiene measures as well as seeking medical assistance as soon as the most common symptoms of cholera such as severe diarrhea and vomiting are in evidence. In places such as the capital Maputo, which have so far and somehow escaped from the clutches of the disease, the authorities and partners have been talking special precautionary steps to mitigate the impact of the outbreak, which is seemingly, and rapidly becoming a cyclic phenomenon in Mozambique.

Meanwhile in Nampula, one of the worst hit provinces, World Vision-Mozambique peer educators continue to play a vital role in the sensitization and mobilization of communities so as to stem the spread of cholera. This is an essential activity if the on going prevention program are to succeed given that misinformation and misunderstandings caused mostly by ignorance have in the recent past greatly hampered the efforts of the Government and partners alike.