Health agencies and NGOs are stepping
up cholera awareness campaigns in Zimbabwe, as the death toll and number of
reported cases rise.
Claire-Lise Chaignat, head of the World Health Organization’s Global Cholera
Task Force, spoke from Geneva to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De
Capua about the latest figures in the cholera epidemic.
have currently 34,306 cases and 1,732 deaths. That’s cumulative cases from
August up to 5th of January,” she says.
says that progress is being made despite the continuing rise in reported cases and
starting to see that the epidemic is starting now to decline. And especially
when we break down the occurrence of cases by week, we see that in fact during
the last week, up to the 3rd of January, there was quite an
important decrease in the number of cases that have been reported from all over
Zimbabwe,” she says.
are also signs that reported cholera cases along the border with South Africa
have also started to stabilize. Many Zimbabweans have crossed into South Africa
seeking medical treatment for the disease.
rains have arrived in Zimbabwe and many fear that will fuel the spread of the
water-borne disease. Dr. Chaignat says, “We know that rains in this part of the
world can contribute to spreading the epidemic. And what we have to know now is
that the teams and the country better organize in responding to the epidemic
currently. So we hope that they will be able to manage the situation.”
WHO official says she cannot speculate on when the cholera may be brought under
control, adding, “We have to see day by day and week by week how the situation
Chaignat says that the Zimbabwe
government is fully cooperating in efforts to end the cholera epidemic.