EU allocates €1 million to support Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak response

EU allocates €1 million to support Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak response

By Agencies

HARARE: The EU recently announced new funding of €1 million to Zimbabwe, to support the country’s response to the ongoing cholera epidemic, which has placed more than 10 million people at risk.

The funding comes from the EU’s Emergency Toolbox which is used to respond to sudden-onset crises.

The current cholera epidemic broke out in February 2023, and has since affected all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.

Until 20 November 2023, there had been nearly 10,000 cases and 206 people had lost their lives, meaning a high case fatality rate of 2.6%.

The current epicentres are in Manicaland, Harare (Chitungwiza), and Masvingo.

“The emergency funding will support partners carrying out water, health and sanitation activities. They will focus on districts where the outbreak is currently evolving and where needs and gaps are the highest,” the EU said in a statement.

It added; “In 2023, the EU allocated a total of €8.4 million in humanitarian assistance.

“This includes €4 million to reduce food insecurity among vulnerable urban populations through multi-purpose cash assistance.

The funding also supports disaster preparedness and health promotion to vulnerable populations.

“The EU reinforces local authorities’ capacity to respond to epidemics, support and protect vulnerable migrant returnees, enhance preparedness for displacement, and improve the management of mixed migration flows.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government is rolling out new measures to halt the spread of the deadly outbreak.

Officials declared a state of emergency in the capital, Harare, and more than 1,200 laboratory-confirmed cases were recorded in 10 provinces in the country.

At least 46 cholera treatment camps are now in place in addition to multiple oral rehydration points to “bring services closer to the people”, according to acting health minister Amon Murwira.

Authorities will set up hand washing stations and sanitation devices in public places to reduce the chances of the disease spreading from person to person.

And at least 300 healthcare personnel will also be trained and deployed to spearhead door-to-door campaigns to educate the public about the disease.

“Community dialogue, inter-faith discussion and sensitisation of key stakeholders on cholera are planned for the week in high cholera incidence districts,” Murwira said.

The government will also immediately operationalize water tracking in affected urban areas, in addition to monitoring water quality in all areas.

Information minister Jenfan Muswere added that there will be supervision of burials in cholera-affected areas and restrictions on gatherings in such areas will be strengthened