Harare, December 4, 2008
—In response to the government of Zimbabwe’s appeal to the donor community for assistance with the cholera outbreak, World Vision is scaling up its response in all of its program areas, especially those where cholera has been reported. World Vision has accepted leadership in three provinces—Matebeleland South, Bulawayo and Mashonaland Central—effectively becoming the provincial UN health cluster coordinator and focal contact for government, humanitarian agencies and WHO. World Vision has been tasked to provide regular situation updates to key stakeholders.
"The leadership role entails the collation and sharing of surveillance data, monitoring and general information management. World Vision will also provide the coordination of food aid, hygiene promotion, water and sanitation activities by all humanitarian players at provincial level," said Wilfred Sikukula, the cholera response manager for World Vision Zimbabwe.
"Response kits have been purchased and pre-positioned in communities as well as in all district health centres where World Vision is present. Plans have been put in place to drill and rehabilitate boreholes in all health centers.World Vision's office in Zimbabwe has set up a cholera response unit with core staff seconded from various departments for field activities.
The government of Zimbabwe has declared the cholera outbreak a national emergency and has appealed to the donor community for assistance to alleviate the outbreak which has claimed 563 lives from the 12,546 recorded cases since August.
Addressing a stakeholders meeting, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr. David Parirenyatwa declared the cholera outbreak a national emergency and appealed for resources in the health sector. He said the malfunction of central hospitals had worsened the situation.
“Our central hospitals are literally not functioning. Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived," said Dr. Parirenyatwa.
He appealed for medicine, laboratory reagents, surgical sundries, renal and laundry equipment, X-ray films and boilers, food to feed patients and resumption of child supplementary feeding programs and equipment. The ministry highlighted a critical shortage of medical sundries such as adult canulla.
The European Commission has provided nine million euros (about US$12 million) to fight a deadly outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe. The money from the commission’s ‘global plan’ for Zimbabwe will be provided to the UN and non-governmental partner agencies working in the crisis-ridden Southern African country to support water, sanitation and hygienic actions, epidemic response and the provision of essential drugs.
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare needs US$1.5 million every month as incentives for health workers, and only US$7 million will be availed in January 2009 with US$11 million still outstanding. The Water and Infrastructural Development ministry also appealed for R40 million for water treatment chemicals.
Cholera has affected nine of the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe with a fatality rate of up to 50 percent in some areas. According to IRIN, Limpopo River has tested positive for cholera.
ENDWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit worldvision.org/press.