On Wednesday, the Zimbabwean government announced that it is strengthening its response to the cholera pandemic, which has claimed 71 lives since the outbreak on Feb 12, 2023, according to official figures.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Aspect Maunganidze said that the government is installing water, hygiene and sanitation infrastructure to ensure that communities have access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, the state-run Herald newspaper reported Wednesday.
Maunganidze said that the government is addressing the determinants and drivers of cholera, including perennial water shortages, breakdown of sanitation infrastructure, and limited rural water and sanitation coverage.
He added that urban by-laws would also be enforced to control the spread of the disease.
“The government is working to ensure that we address all the drivers of cholera. The surge in cases, the increase in deaths, the countrywide spread of the outbreak, and the continued persistent existence of underlying drivers of transmission need a whole-of-government, whole-of-society response so that we can stop the further spread of cholera in Zimbabwe,” he said.
According to official figures, Cholera cases have been surging in the country, with 458 new cases confirmed during the first 16 days of January.
As of Jan. 16, the country had recorded 18,623 suspected cholera cases and 2,193 confirmed cases, with all the 48 confirmed cases reported on the day coming from the capital Harare.
Maunganidze emphasized the need for an increased supply of potable piped water without interruptions at the household level.
“Where there is no council water, alternative sources should be made available for the affected communities through water trucking. In this regard, the private sector should be engaged to assist,” he said.
The government recently initiated a garbage clearing program in Harare and other urban areas to curb the spread of cholera, but many residents continue to dump litter in undesignated places.