World Vision increases cholera response measures in Zimbabwe

World Vision is working together with partners, including the government, to contain the cholera outbreak, which has become a nation-wide concern as more and more reports of the disease are reported in several districts.

"World Vision is complementing recovery efforts at a cholera quarantine camp through the provision of medical supplies, food, logistical support and manpower," explained Daniel Muchena, World Vision's humanitarian and emergency affairs director in Zimbabwe.

"In addition to this, four staff with health-related professional backgrounds have been seconded to the quarantine camp to assist in the clinical management of over 1,000 patients who have been treated at the camp since the beginning of the emergency," Muchena added.

To meet the food needs of patients admitted to the quarantine camp and over 150 volunteers participating in the recovery mission, 2.9 MT of food relief consisting of 2.5 MT cereals, 0.25 MT pulses and 0.15 MT of fortified vegetable oil was provided through World Vision's existing food resources from the pipeline of C-SAFE, an NGO consortium project which World Vision leads.

Meanwhile, World Vision is actively participating in a coordinated cholera response with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare staff, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Beitbridge community to contain the outbreak and prevent the spread of the infection to rural areas through intensive participatory health and hygiene education (PHHE).

World Vision has also mobilized local churches and the area's Pastors' Fraternity to engage over 1,000 volunteers to penetrate all areas of Beitbridge with PHHE as well as conduct regular garbage collection in the heavily polluted border town.

As of November 18, a total of 6072 cases had been reported nationwide, along with 294 deaths, of which 443 of the reported cases and 36 deaths were in the southern city of Bulawayo. The situation is expected to worsen with the onset of the rainy season, which has cause further deterioration of the sanitation situation. Floodwater laced with raw sewage and garbage is reportedly washing into shallow wells, where most households are drawing their water supplies.

Areas where cases were reported previously include Chitungwiza and Budiriro in Harare, Makonde, Kariba and Mola in Mash West, Mudzi, Murewa, Mutoko, Goromonzi, Marondera, Chikomba, Hwedza, UMP and Seke in Mash East, Shamva and Mazowe in Mash Central, Chipinge in Manicaland, and Mushandike in Masvingo.

World Vision program manager Pretty Dube said, "The outbreak is currently confined to Beitbridge town, however, it is a cause for concern that people living in the town have been alarmed by the outbreak and are traveling in large numbers to the rural areas, thus becoming a potential source of spread of infection to uninfected areas."