UN allocates US$3m new funds for cholera response

July Moyo

Harare – The UN Resident Coordinator Mr Bishow Parajuli and the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Hon July Moyo today signed USD 3 million allocation from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in response to the Cholera outbreak.

The CERF which will be implemented by UNICEF, WHO and WFP was also signed by Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF Representative; Dr. Alex Gasasira, WHO Representative; and Mr. Eddie Rowe, WFP Representative.

UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli said, “The CERF will provide immediate life-saving assistance to 600,000 people who are infected or at risk of being infected by cholera in 10 hotspot sites in Harare with immediate interventions in health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food aid until the outbreak is contained.” The ten hot spot areas in Harare are: Glenview, Budiriro, Mbare, Epworth, Glen Norah, Granary, Mabvuku, Mufakose, Stoneridge, and Kambuzuma.

Commending the strong engagement by the United Nations particularly in supporting the coordination of relief responses from the wider humanitarian partners in response to the cholera outbreak, Hon. July Moyo Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing said, “This fund will ensure immediate rapid scale up of cholera outbreak response activities, increase access to lifesaving treatment, awareness of cholera prevention among the affected and at risk communities while resource mobilisation efforts continue.”

Following the declaration of a state of emergency over the Cholera outbreak in Harare on 11 September 2018, the Government issued an appeal for USD 60 million to address life-saving, short- and medium-term needs in water, hygiene and sanitation infrastructure.

UNICEF Representative, Dr, Mohamed Ayoya said, “The CERF allocation will contribute to providing adequate safe water supply, proper sanitation, essential medicines, social mobilisation and community engagement, and psychosocial counselling to the affected and vulnerable people thereby saving lives and reducing the spread of the outbreak in the community.”

In response to the Government’s appeal, UN agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross Movement have been on the ground providing treatment services; water, hygiene and sanitation; food assistance; cholera awareness and prevention campaigns; and most recently oral cholera vaccinations.

WHO Representative, Dr. Alex Gasasira said, “The CERF allocation will increase access to life-saving treatment and awareness of cholera prevention among the affected and at-risk communities, procurement and distribution of essential medicines and supplies such as tents for establishment of cholera treatment units to manage cases, and procurement and provision of cholera kits and other necessities.”

Since the onset of the cholera outbreak, as of 7 October 2018, it has been reported that a cumulative 8,831 suspected cases (194 confirmed cases) were reported in Harare’s high-density areas and other parts of the country, with 54 deaths (36 of which in Harare).

“The CERF allocation will enable provision of food assistance to approximately 50,000 people being treated for cholera symptoms during the incubation and treatment period, thereby facilitating minimal interface between infected and non-infected people in the provision and preparation of food,” said WFP Representative, Mr. Eddie Rowe.

Noting the recurrence of cholera and other water-borne diseases triggered mostly by the lack of access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation, Mr. Parajuli said, “What has been done in response to the cholera outbreak are immediate measures. The challenge that Zimbabwe’s major cities and towns face need to be addressed through a deliberate medium to long-term renovation and renewal of water, sanitation and hygiene as well as sustainable waste disposal management infrastructure including proper urban planning.”

The United Nations strategic support to development in Zimbabwe is guided by the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF). The ZUNDAF, fully aligned to national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals, aims to contribute to six result areas of: Social Services and Protection; Food and Nutrition Security; HIV and AIDS; Gender Equality; Poverty Reduction and Value Addition; and Public Administration and Governance.

As of 30 June 2018, the mid-point of the ZUNDAF implementation cycle, the UN delivered USD 1.1 billion in the form of various development projects accounting for 70 per cent of the total USD 1.6 billion planned to be mobilized over a period of five-years.

To contribute towards strengthening the disaster risk management in Zimbabwe, in 2017 the UN System facilitated the deployment of an inter-agency Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) to assess the country’s disaster preparedness. Handing over the CADRI mission report to Hon. July Moyo on the side of the signing ceremony of the UN emergency fund allocation to cholera response, the UN Resident Coordinator said, “It is my sincere hope that the recommendations provided in the mission report will inform disaster risk management and mitigation efforts in Zimbabwe.”