Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Government has welcomed interventions made by the corporate world and individuals towards the prevention and treatment of cholera, which motivated international partners to chip in.
This was said by Secretary for Health and Child Care Dr Gerald Gwinji after receiving goods worth $200 000 from the Executive Interaction Initiative (EII).
The initiative is a forum of business executives and the military’s top brass, which is headed by Commander Defence Forces, General Philip Valerio Sibanda.
The EII reached out to its members and other well-wishers to raise funds and other essential resources to fight the cholera epidemic.
The donations included two million litres of water, hand sanitisers, soap, bars, Dettol tablets, bleach, chlorine tablets, buckets, gloves, linen, drip stands, face masks, washing machines and food, among others.
Speaking after receiving the goods, Dr Gwinji said the overwhelming response from the local organisations also encouraged other international partners to join in the prevention and treatment of cholera.
“We appreciate the tremendous support that we have had from yourselves as corporates and individuals and as partnerships in the area of cholera and water and sanitation.
“The way the local population responded to this is overwhelming and subsequently led to more structures and meaningful response from our international partners and organisations who tend to hold back until they have seen what you yourselves are doing.
“In this effort they have taken their hats off to the local response, which has been overwhelming. The resources you have given us have gone into the City of Harare mostly to address issues around water, garbage collection and rehabilitation of the sewer system to make the city clean again and some of it has gone to the clinical care of the sick in terms of the medicines and fluids they require,” he said.
Dr Gwinji said there was need for fluids for cholera patients.
“The mainstay of cholera is fluids and in a day, if it’s very severe someone can consume between 60 and 100litres of water through intravenous method,” he said
He said cholera patients had a special type of beds and also required food from the time they are admitted until; discharged.
“We thank you very much. Thank you for the spirit you have shown. we know you have Zimbabwe at heart and will continue to support us,” he said.
“Going forward we need to continuously prepare as cholera is not going to disappear anytime soon because of chronic challenges we have been facing over the years in terms of water and sanitation.
“It will not disappear overnight. We need to provide enough water through the normal system and this will take some time therefore we also need to prepare for any eventuality.
“We are dealing with cholera and we are aware of the underlying factors that cause these outbreaks from time to time. This is to do with the quality of our water that we use as well as the services that are provided around sanitation particularly the issues around garbage collection and sewage management,” he said
He said the current outbreak was linked to a prolonged inattention to a major sewage breakage in Glen View.
To date 8 574 cases of cholera have been recorded.
“It’s treatable and preventable so it’s really a catastrophe when we let people die from something that is preventable and treatable,” he said.
Handing over the goods, General Sibanda said the EII raised $60 000 cash and $140 000 in kind towards combating cholera.
“As agreed by the business executives at their recent annual event in the resort town of Victoria Falls funds raised by the business executives forum and their co-operating business will be channelled towards combating cholera.
“ I sincerely want to thank all our donors for their immense contribution towards the fight against cholera epidemic, which has resulted in the suffering and unfortunate loss of life among our citizens. Thank you for empathising with the affected and for partnering with Government in the fight against cholera.
“Please do not tire. May you continue with your efforts. I urge other corporates to take a cure from you until this disease has been eradicated from our country,” he said.
Some of the donors are Masawara Group of companies, which donated a washing machine that will be handed over to the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital today.