THE Government has tightened border controls and mobilised resources following heightened fears of a possible cholera outbreak in the country after the disease killed 67 people in neighbouring Zambia.
The disease which broke out in Zambia last October, is infectious and causes severe watery diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated.
It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
There are fears it may spread to Zimbabwe because of high cross border activity between the two countries.
According to the Lusaka Times, 2 905 cholera cases had been recorded in the neighbouring country by last Wednesday.
During a CPU meeting at the Hwange District Administrator’s office on Wednesday, Hwange District Environmental Health Officer, Mr Talikobila Mwembe called for a multi-sectorial approach in cholera prevention.
“In preparing ourselves for a breakout that may affect the country anytime, we would like to encourage a multi-sectorial responsibility whereby Government, local government and the education sector work together in terms of preventing the epidemic,” said Mr Mwembe.
He said the ministry has mobilised equipment at all 45 health institutions in the district, reserved 45 cholera beds at Victoria Falls District Hospital, ambulances and motorcycles for hard to reach areas, laboratory consumables and medicines even though he highlighted they are in short supply.
Mr Mwembe said there was a shortage of health personnel manning some border posts.
“Human resources are available in all categories though there is a critical shortage in environmental health departments manning the Pandamatenga and Kazungula border posts. This is risky as there are chances of cholera being imported into the country through some food stuffs,” he said.
Victoria Falls Municipality has since stopped Zambian vendors who get into the town on daily basis to sell maize cobs, fruits and vegetables from crossing into the town to sell their wares, to limit the chances of the epidemic spreading across the border.
Hwange DA, Mr Simon Muleya said there was heightened alert considering the proximity with Zambia.
“In the district we have Victoria Falls which is a stone throw away from Zambia and possible gateway for cholera. We have to be on the alert and prevent it from being imported into the country.”
He appealed to well-wishers for assistance in case of an outbreak.
“There’s no budget allocation for the CPU from the central bank, however, we work on donations. We call upon stakeholders and well-wishers to be on the alert and assist in case of an outbreak,”
Mr Muleya said the ministry has availed $380 for awareness campaigns on cholera.
In 2008, there was a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe.
Illegal sanctions imposed by hostile Western nations had caused the deterioration of service delivery.