Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has mounted a massive public awareness campaign to fight the cholera crisis in the country, which is reported to have already claimed 21 lives.
The company has also started offering material support to public health teams working to combat the epidemic.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Douglas Mboweni yesterday said the firm had partnered responsible authorities to fight the disease.
“We have partnered with the Government, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control, to offer centrally coordinated material support to the nationwide effort to combat the cholera outbreak,” he said.
“We are sad at the deaths that have been reported due to the outbreak of this disease and we will play our part by using our resources and our reach to help prevent the spread of the disease and save lives.”
Mr Mboweni said the support included preventive items, such as hand sterilisation material, aqua tablets and special protective clothing for health workers, as well as case management supplies that include antibiotic medicines and IVR fluids.
On Tuesday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo declared the disease a state of disaster, opening the door for an all-out mobilisation of resources – funding, medicines, manpower and an information, education and awareness campaign.
The desease’s epicentre has been identified as the sprawling high-density suburbs of Glen View and Budiriro in Harare.
Mr Mboweni said Econet had already begun sending out free SMS alerts to the public, educating them on how the disease is contracted and how it spreads, how to avoid contracting the disease, how to prevent its spread and how to treat it.
Cholera is a highly infectious disease caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated by the vibrio cholera bacterium.
Its major symptoms are severe diarrhoea and vomiting, which leads to dehydration that can result in death in a matter of hours, if not treated.
Cholera can be treated using oral hydration solution (ORS) which is made up of a salt and sugar solution to address the deadly dehydration.
It can also be treated using antibiotics that attack the vibrio bacterium. Early detection and treatment are critical to save the lives of cholera patients.