Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter
HEALTH and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said people should notify health officials of any public gatherings including funerals so that measures can be put in place to avoid the spread of cholera.
In a ministerial statement in Parliament on Wednesday, Dr Parirenyatwa also urged people to avoid handshakes, but greet each other using their fists or elbows.
Health officials, he said, will now monitor cooking and burial procedures and other public gatherings to contain the disease.
So far cholera has killed four people in Chegutu, Mashonaland West province.
“Let us also avoid big gatherings during outbreaks such as this one. You are aware that certain church gatherings are going to be happening this weekend and we are urging that you inform the Ministry of Health and Child Care so that they are properly supervised and education is given to the people who come to those funerals,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
“We are going to give those particular gatherings particular conditions that they must follow before they can gather. In other words there must be sufficient water, sanitary facilities and funerals should be supervised by health workers.”
He said all the provinces in the country have been put on high alert due to cholera.
The Minister said people should desist from eating foods cooked or prepared under unhygienic conditions.
“As usual, please must avoid shaking hands at funerals. If you have to do it, please use a fist or elbow and that has stood us nicely. We also urge our radios, televisions and media in general to also talk about cholera in terms of educating our people. We are hoping that this cholera outbreak can be contained and it is really a task for all of us as a nation,” he said.
“There is rampant vending in undesignated places, including selling of meat and fruits on pavements. People buy and eat all this on the streets in unhygienic conditions, putting themselves at risk of cholera and other diarrhoeal and enteric diseases such as typhoid.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said Zimbabwe has so far received support from MSF, Unicef and other donors to fight the disease.
The Minister said those that are sick or have signs and symptoms of cholera should go for screening or treatment.
He raised concern over the huge number of travellers to and from Lusaka, Zambia where more than 70 people have died of cholera.
“It was paramount that we put in place screening mechanisms at these borders for travellers to quantify the needs in the event of cases occurring there and also to put temporary holding camps or treatment camps at the appropriate border places,” said the Minister.
According to the World Health Organisation, cholera kills an estimated 95 000 people and affects 2,9 million worldwide every year.—@thamamoe
Article Source: The Chronicle