Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe

MSF is combating a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe's eastern provinces of Manicaland and Mashonaland-East, alongside the Ministry of Health (MoH). The first cases were recorded early December and the disease started spreading to the east, moving downstream along the Ruwenje River and the Murove River.

To date, 244 cases and 11 deaths have been reported.

In Manicaland (Buhera district), the MoH has set up three cholera treatment centres (CTC), with support of MSF, on the grounds of clinics in Rambanapasi and Munyani, and in the Mission Hospital in Murambinda.

The MSF team assures; proper construction and lay-out of the CTC's; provides medical and logistic supplies; strengthens the field teams with nurse aides and other support staff; helps with transport of patients; and trains health workers involved in fighting the outbreak.

They also organise promotion activities for making the communities aware of the strict hygiene measures needed for controlling the cholera outbreak, and have been installed or repaired water systems in health facilities. A further CTC will be opened in Chiwenga clinic.

The outbreak appears to be under control for now, but torrential rains have been pouring down on Zimbabwe recently and could eventually worsen the situation. Containing the disease is a priority; if it reaches larger rivers and spreads to the lowlands the outbreak could be catastrophic.