THE current cholera outbreak which, according to Government estimates, has claimed more than 100 lives and infected more than 5 000 people, calls for urgent effort to stop its spread.
The present flare-up of this water-borne desease, which was first recorded in Buhera (Manicaland), has spread to all 10 provinces.
It is growing worse by the day, with the densely populated Harare now the worst hit — its Kuwadzana high density suburb is heading the list.
The situation is not helped by the frequent sewer bursts and the non-availability of running water from the taps.
What with heaps and heaps of uncollected garbage being the familiar eyesore in all the CCC-led urban councils!
We, therefore, commend the Government’s effort in its attempt to rescue the apparently clueless urban councils.
These are areas within the purview of CCC councils, who have proved to be incapable of running urban centres under their jurisdiction.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora was on a tour of Kuwadzana, on Tuesday, where he saw first hand areas subjected to constant sewer bursts.
Here was a case of life or death, where Government found itself compelled to join hands with the City of Harare to avoid carnage.
Left alone unattended, this cholera outbreak might easily develop into a pandemic.
For God’s sake, we don’t want a repeat of the 2008 outbreak which stopped just short of being declared a national disaster!
It’s not long ago we were faced with a devastating pandemic in the form of COVID-19.
Then, hundreds of precious lives were lost — may their dear souls rest in peace!
But when the nation decided to put all hands on deck, we contained the situation.
With the rain season upon us, with such unhygienic conditions in urban areas, the outlook is gloomy.
That is why we feel there is justification in calling for a declaration of the current cholera outbreak a national disaster.
Such a declaration would allow other agencies to come in and support the Government in implementing long-term measures.
With cholera cases on the increase in Harare, Minister Mombeshora has suggested the CCC-led City Council work hand-in-glove with the Government.
Dr Mombeshora appealed to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment to chip in with some cash to help fix water and sewer reticulation infrastructure in Harare.
At a personal level, the public is advised to follow recommended hygiene practices, such as washing their hands with running tap water after visiting the toilet.
Vegetables and other foodstuffs should also be washed before use.
It is also advisable that all drinking water be boiled first.
Because of the acute water shortages in Harare, people are sometimes forced to fetch water from contaminated shallow wells.
Some measures, which might appear painful in the short term, may be necessary in our fight against cholera.
This may include the temporary banning of vending of foodstuffs.
Boarding schools are now discouraging parents from visiting their children as part of efforts to curb the spread of cholera.
We succeeded in halting the spread of COVID-19 back then.
There is no reason we can’t do the same with the current cholera menace.