Zimbabwe / Urgent Need For Medical Supplies to Combat Cholera
HARARE, Zimbabwe, November 28, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Notes
IOM continues to work in coordination with UN agencies and local authorities to urgently combat a rapidly spreading outbreak of cholera, which has thus far claimed hundreds of lives. With the entire country now affected by the outbreak, and with floods anticipated with the rainy season now in swing, the cholera crisis could deepen.
The total number of suspected cholera cases stands at 9,463 with 389 deaths. In Beitbridge, on the border with South Africa, there are 2,917 suspected cholera cases with 76 deaths, while Harare has seen 4,697 suspected cases and 108 deaths. There continues to be an urgent need for drugs, intravenous fluids, Oral Rehydration Salts, antibiotics and cholera beds.
IOM is appealing for USD 655,000 to respond to the rapid rise in cholera cases while continuing to monitor the situation, providing hospital referrals when necessary, and deploying and supporting nurses at Cholera Treatment Centres (CTC). In addition, IOM is providing drugs, medical supplies, and non- food items such as clothing and gumboots to health staff working at the CTCs.
At the request of local authorities and Ministry of Health, IOM will support the establishment of a CTC at Victoria Falls and conduct an assessment of the situation in Muzarabani in the northern state of Mashonaland Central.
In Beitbridge, where IOM runs a reception and support centre for returning migrants, the Organization has mobilized and trained 40 community health volunteers to help with health education and hygiene promotion activities. It is also engaged in active case finding, reporting and hospital referrals. In partnership with MSF Spain, IOM is supporting 180 health workers and supplying local health centres with drugs and other materials.
To address the urgent water needs, IOM and Action Against Hunger are finalizing the connection of a borehole which will supply the Beitbridge hospital with water. The CTC at the Beitbridge reception centre has so far treated 15 suspected cholera cases, with no deaths.
In Manicaland, IOM is supporting local authorities and the Ministry of Health with the provision of drugs, two vehicles for outbreak management and two IOM nurses to assist in the cholera response. IOM continues to monitor the situation for mobile and vulnerable populations through a network of 125 community health volunteers that provide alerts on suspected cases.
Since February 2008, IOM has provided comprehensive responses to reports of cholera, anthrax, scabies and diarrhoea diseases outbreaks among mobile and vulnerable populations in more than 10 districts.
Zimbabwe’s health delivery system is facing serious challenges, characterized by shortages of health staff, drugs and other medical consumables. The situation is exacerbated by the reduced capacity to supply clean water in urban areas and deteriorating sewer systems.
SOURCE : International Office of Migration (IOM)