Scaling up towards Cholera response in Zimbabwe
Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit (EHU) is supporting communities which were affected by the Cholera outbreak in the remote parts of Zimbabwe through raising awareness on how to prevent Cholera as well as distributing Non-Food Items (NFIs) which include water tanks, soap, water guard, jerry cans, and toilet cleaners which will help in improving hygiene and sanitation practices in these areas so as to avoid the resurfacing of the epidemic.
During the NFIs distribution and awareness raising exercise in Gokwe North which is located in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe, the EHU team got an opportunity to interact with one of the families which was affected by the Cholera epidemic.
Nine year old Gift (Not real name) from Mahembe Village in Gokwe North is lucky to have survived the Cholera epidemic as he managed to get treatment on time. Gift’s sister, Kudzai told the EHU staff that the family suspected that Gift contracted Cholera when he ate unwashed fruits he had brought at Mbare Fruit and Vegetable Market in Harare.
“Gift visited our relative in Motoko during the school holidays in August this year. We suspect he contracted Cholera on his way back home in September. He says he bought apples and bananas and he didn’t wash his hands or the fruits before eating.”
“When he got home he started complaining that his tummy hurt and he started feeling weak. Luckily we immediately took him to Mutora Mission hospital where he received treatment. It was a very difficult time for us as a family, we all panicked because we had heard that there was a Cholera outbreak in Harare and many deaths had been had been reported . He spent five days in hospital.”
Kudzai explained that some families in Gokwe North Districts do not have access to safe drinking and they use water from unprotected wells. She added that they cannot afford to buy water treatment chemicals as they do not have reliable source of income. In response Save the Children intervened by providing communities with NFIs which will go a long way assisting vulnerable families.
“We are really grateful to Save the Children for the cholera prevention material they gave us. We get our water from an open source and we would just drink it without treating it but now, we have received water treatment chemical which we will use treat our water before drinking it. We also received water containers, which we will use to store water.
“We were also taught on the importance of good hygiene practices, for example washing hands with soap under running water. I don’t think any of our family members will contract Cholera again.”
A total of 70 families received NFIs in Gokwe North District.