Cholera hits Harare

A devastating cholera outbreak has hit Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, shortly after the newly inaugurated Emmerson Mnangagwa endorsed his new cabinet. 

A state of emergency has since been declared by health officials as the state moved in to contain the outbreak. 

Information coming out of the country has it that the total number of the dead was at 20 at the opening of this week while a school had to be temporarily shut down.

The disease is said to have spread from one of the capital’s biggest locations, Glenview to another city, Masvingo, approximately 297km away.

The outbreak has evoked dark memories of 2008, one of the country’s most difficult years which was marred by hyper-inflation, a near total break-down of service delivery all spurred by political instability following a widely violent election. 

 A total of 11 735 cholera cases with more than 4 000 deaths were recorded, as the outbreak closed in on all provinces in the country.

Speaking to the media this week, newly inaugurated health minister, Obadia Moyo said the number of cases was growing by the day.

“There are about over 2 000 cases. The city of Harare has had a big problem. This whole problem has risen as a result of blocked sewers,” he said.

He has accused City of Harare employees of “Sitting on the job and not doing their work” saying, “this is one of the issues we want to address in Zimbabwe as a whole.”

But all this has been compounded by an under-funded and under-resourced public health sector.

Those in leadership positions can still manage being aired to neighboring South Africa and Malaysian for treatment. 

Although no significant number of cases have been reported yet in another neighboring populous town of Chitungwiza, but residents’ fears have flared up.

Some residents have said an unconfirmed five cases at the Chitungwiza Hospital were reported yet Harare as a whole has grappled with water shortages for some time now.

In other cases, residents have reported and splashed video footages of drinking water coming out of tapes mixed with raw sewerage.

 

An economic decline worsened by state-mismanagement continue to hold firm.

 Mnangagwa has come under heavy criticism by opposition elements for having splashed money on vehicles for political office holders in the face of scarcity.

“My thoughts and prayers are with those suffering from the cholera outbreak, and the loved ones of those we have lost. In order to speedily contain the outbreak and efficiently mobilise our resources, we have declared a state of emergency in Harare, and are working closely with our international partners who are assisting us in this crucial endeavour,’ he said. 

He said his government was “working tirelessly to control the situation, and we hope to communicate progress in due course.”