Cholera fight needs teamwork

HARARE - It is  very sad and demoralising to note that at least over 25 people have succumbed to the latest cholera outbreak that has hit Zimbabwe.

For God’s sake, this is 2018 but still our people are feeling the effects of a disease that belongs to the medieval times.

The worst-affected areas are Glen View and Budiriro with many Zimbabweans fearing the country might plunge back into the 2008 days when at least 4 000 people lost their lives due to the disease.

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and ultimately death if untreated.

The disease is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. Poor sanitation and lack of clean water are the catalyst for the disease and this latest outbreak is an indictment on the government and the local authorities.

Citizens have a right to clean water and sterile living conditions but the relevant authorities have failed in this regard resulting in this epidemic.

Despite spending millions of dollars chartering private planes and acquiring off-road vehicles for traditional chiefs and legislators, government’s response to the cholera outbreak has been underwhelming.

It has set up a GoFundMe to help raise funds for water, treatment chemicals and some vital medicines used in the cure of the disease while the President’s Fund has injected $100 000.

With government showing inertia, corporates have stepped up to the plate by donating in cash and kind to help fight the outbreak.

Econet Wireless, the country’s largest telecommunications entity, donated $10 million followed by OK Zimbabwe chipping in with water guard to treat water used by residents.

CBZ Holdings donated 10 water tanks with a capacity of 5 000 litres each while Delta Corporation delivered 45 000 litres of fresh water to the affected communities and pledged to bring more.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has also pledged to provide $250 000 while Quest Motors availed a truck to help with the logistics in fighting the disease.

Zimbabwe now needs to come together in combating the epidemic like what has happened in the last few days so that no more lives are lost. We should have learned as a nation from the experience in 2008 that cholera is deadly and spreads spontaneously.

There should never be a compromise by councils when it comes to providing safe drinking water and clean ablution facilities. If we get it right at this initial stage, then the cholera-causing bacteria will never have a chance in this country again.

Comments (1)

The water reticulation system and its sewer were established in the 1940s to cater for one tenth of Harare's current population. Now there is over-crowding and congestion. After 1980 zanupf with its ill-advised populist policies encouraged massive rural-to-urban migration. This coupled with the Harare bambazonke mentality also caused urban to urban migration - business is closing down in other cities like Byo only to reopen in Hre. Government as the largest consumer/provide of goods and services, must be encouraged to take a leading role in de-centralising its activities but alas if anything Harare will continue being the 'be-all' the construction of any even bigger parliament is testimony that decentralisation will never see light under zanupf governance. Resultantly cholera will be with us for a while and those efforts to ask cholera affected citizens to contribute to clear this mess are but diabolical as along as someone does not admit to having erred.

Sinyo - 17 September 2018

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