ZIMBABWE—The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), with help from WHO and other partners, has announced that the number of cholera cases in Zimbabwe has decreased due to increased and decentralized cholera response efforts.

Although current data remain higher than last year’s period, this decrease is a welcome step given the frightening increase between November and January of this year.

Zimbabwe has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since February 12, 2024.

As of May 11, 2024, the country reported 33,914 suspected cholera cases, including 87 confirmed deaths, 623 suspected deaths, and 3,963 confirmed cases.

During this period alone, Manicaland Province documented 6,596 cases.

To curb the outbreak, the WHO has strengthened the cholera treatment centre in Zvipiripiri by leveraging financing from the Health Resilience Fund (HRF).

This facility was enlarged from eight to twelve beds and supplied critical medical supplies such as rehydration fluids, antibiotics, and other cholera treatment materials.

WHO also encouraged the development of sanitation infrastructure, such as waste pits and emergency latrines, to promote cleanliness and avoid future transmission.

Triage points were also constructed to guarantee a smooth flow of patients and personnel, hence reducing infection risks.

Furthermore, in November 2023, WHO provided the province with critical supplies, including medications, personal protective equipment (PPE), information, education, and communication (IEC) materials, and cleaning and disinfection supplies, to aid response activities.

Moreover, with the help of HRF and the Central Emergency Response Fund (UNCERF), WHO organized training programmes for Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), reaching out to over 60 people from all districts nationwide.

These trainings centered on water quality monitoring, providing EHPs with the information and abilities to test and analyze water samples efficiently.

WHO purchased and distributed water quality kits and consumables to improve water quality surveillance in communities, particularly at cholera treatment centres (CTCs).

In addition, the WHO trained 115 EHPs in food safety, equipping them with current food trends and guidelines and helping them understand foodborne illnesses.

They learned crucial skills for preventing and controlling cholera and other diarrheal diseases, as well as critical steps for deploying them in communities and CTCs.

EHPs are still receiving on-the-job mentorship in infection prevention and control and community engagement activities in CTCs and communities in response to the cholera outbreak.

According to Dr. Sally-Ann Ohene, WHO Zimbabwe Cholera Incident Manager, Zimbabwe’s remarkable drop in cholera cases results from the MoHCC, WHO, and other partners’ collaborative efforts.

She did, however, emphasize that their work is far from over and that they must continue to assist communities in strengthening preventative measures to ensure a long-term impact on public health.

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