Zimbabwe Red Cross Springs into Action to Combat Cholera Outbreak in Chiredzi

Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and Partners Intensify Efforts to Tackle Cholera Outbreak in Chiredzi

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) is ramping up its response efforts to address a surging cholera outbreak in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe. The deadly diarrhoeal disease has seen a recent uptick in cases within the district, prompting a coordinated response by health authorities and humanitarian organizations.

According to statistics released by the Health and Child Care ministry, Chiredzi has emerged as one of the cholera hotspots in the country. As of last Sunday, the ministry reported a staggering total of 18,100 suspected cholera cases and 68 laboratory-confirmed deaths nationwide. Additionally, 323 suspected cholera-related deaths and 2,065 laboratory-confirmed cases have been recorded.

Chiredzi, situated in the southeast of Zimbabwe, has not been spared from this crisis, reporting 45 new suspected cholera cases as of the latest update. This outbreak is straining local healthcare systems and requires a swift, comprehensive response.

In a collaborative effort, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) is working hand in hand with the Health Child Care ministry and other partners to tackle the multifaceted challenges posed by the cholera outbreak.

Elias Hwenga, Secretary-General of ZRCS, highlighted their initiatives in response to the crisis: “The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, in support of the Health and Child Care ministry’s cholera outbreak response in Chiredzi, has established a cholera treatment centre (CTC) as cases continue to surge in the district. We have also set up a community oral rehydration point to manage moderate cases, thereby alleviating the strain on the CTC and other healthcare facilities.”

Furthermore, Hwenga revealed that ZRCS, in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has launched an emergency appeal to address the escalating situation. He outlined the key areas of focus, stating, “The emergency appeal prioritises critical aspects, including cholera prevention and control, enhanced case management, and improvements in water and sanitation facilities. It also underscores the significance of community engagement, accountability, and inclusivity in providing a comprehensive response to the diverse needs of the affected communities.”

In response to the rising cases, Chiredzi Town Council has issued a stern warning to its residents about the cholera outbreak. Wesley Kauma, the town secretary, advised residents to exercise caution and take preventive measures, saying, “Chiredzi Town Council urges its residents and stakeholders to remain vigilant, as there has been a surge in cholera cases in the town. Tshovani Poly Clinic has reported its first cholera-related death, linked to an individual who had recently travelled from the Mkwasine area.”

Kauma further revealed that the local authorities, in collaboration with the Health ministry and partners like ZRCS, have taken immediate measures by establishing a cholera treatment centre in Mkwasine. He also urged residents to refrain from handshakes, minimize travel, consume hot food, avoid unhygienic food sources, and thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before consumption.

Additionally, Chiredzi council cautioned against gatherings and urged residents to register assemblies with the relevant authorities to curb the further spread of the disease.

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