Government rolls out Cholera vaccines

cholera vacc

Harare Bureau
In the coming weeks, Government will begin administering cholera vaccines in selected suburbs in order to contain the current outbreak that has claimed more than 28 lives in the past two weeks, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Yesterday, 405 new cases were reported in Harare. Harare’s high-density suburbs of GlenView and Budiriro, which have been affected the most by the latest outbreak, are part of the targeted suburbs.

Government has also introduced a second line of cholera antibiotics (Azithromycin) after it emerged that the current cholera strain had become resistant to the first line of antibiotics (ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone).

The multi-pronged strategy that has been devised by Government also includes the clearance of dumpsites in residential areas, which will be complemented by punitive measures against littering and illegal dumping.

Speaking after receiving donations from various corporates at Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital (BRIDH) yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said Government is moving to swiftly contain the outbreak.

“We are happy with the response from various corporates and individuals that have partnered with us to help contain the disease. We are also grateful for the various ministries and institutions that have joined forces with us to contain the outbreak.

As we speak, food vending has been stopped around the city, which is a very good move.  Although I cannot say we have contained the disease as yet, we are moving swiftly in all provinces of the country to contain the disease,” said Dr Moyo.

“We have introduced a number of sustainable measures that will ensure that even as we enter the rainy season, we do not have any loss of life. There are some areas that we have mapped up as high risk areas for cholera, including GlenView and Budiriro. Government has already approved the vaccines and our partner, GAVI, will supply the them in the coming weeks.

“These are part of the measures that have been introduced by Government. We are making plans for spot checks when people are travelling between point A and point B. We will introduce this soon. However, at the moment, we need to see how the containment plans will work out.

“We have also moved into the second line of antibiotics, which is Azithromycin, after the first line of antibiotics — Ciprofloxacin and Ceftriaxone — have become resistant to the disease. We are, however, grateful to some of our partners who have managed to help with the drug, and we believe some of the antibiotics will be bought by Government funds.”

The Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira, who also visited BRIDH yesterday, said a short and long-term environmentally friendly plan will be launched this week.

“We have been doing some mapping in areas where dumpsites are prevalent,” she said.

“Beginning next week, we will be removing these dumpsites, as well as monitoring the repair of sewer pipes in these areas. We have also come up with a strategy on keeping the environment clean. We need to discourage littering, so we are coming up with measures meant to change people’s behaviour.”

Corporates such as Econet, OK Zimbabwe, Avenues Clinic, Famers Union, Zimparks, Higher Life Foundation International, Zimnat, Borrowdale Truama Centre, Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Zimbabwe (SCIAZ) and Nem Chem, among others, have made donations towards fighting cholera.

OK Zimbabwe donated 200 cases of Waterguard to the City of Harare, while Zimparks and Zimnat donated 50 000 and 20 000 litres of clean water, respectively.  Avenues Clinic donated 66 boxes of ringer fluids and 200 boxes of Azithromycin. High Life Foundation donated 1000 plastic aprons, 500 pairs of heavy duty gloves,1 500 linen savers,10 000 syringes,1 500 face masks,100 litres Jik, 32 700 latex gloves, 7 600 units ringers, 5 500 giving sets, 8 800 buretrol,16 360 cannulas and 2 000 bottles of water guard. Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Zimbabwe (SCIAZ) donated soaps, buckets and aqua tablets.

(See also page 14)