The group ActionAid has launched a new
campaign to prevent cholera outbreaks in Zimbabwe communities not yet infected
by the epidemic, which began last August. More than 73,000 cases and over 3,600
deaths have been reported since then. Much of the campaign involves going
door-to-door to teach hygiene and prevention methods.
Matonhodze, ActionAid's cholera response coordinator in Zimbabwe, describes prevention efforts.
we're doing basically is to move into those communities, which have not yet
experienced cases of cholera, by giving information, creating awareness amongst
the target communities. And we're doing that through engagement of the
communities themselves. We have in those areas…volunteers…. We've gone to train
those volunteers on cholera prevention and those volunteers go out to the
communities to create awareness," he says.
and hygiene are key to community cholera prevention efforts.
hygiene. They need to wash their hands each time before handling food, before
eating and after visiting the toilet. Those are the key messages, which we are
saying to the communities… And also ensuring that their water supply is safe,"
been an increase in cholera cases in the rural areas of Zimbabwe. Matonhodze
says, "There's really a shift from cases in urban areas… maybe it's because of
the festive season break when people traveled from urban areas to the rural
areas to see their relatives. We are seeing more cases now in those rural areas
and it's really worrying us."
is operating in six districts, concentrating on the cholera-free zones.
important to be pro-active rather than to be reactive… We'd like to create that
awareness so that people have an understanding of the disease transmission
routes and how to block those routes, which is very essential for behavior
change to occur," he says.
awareness campaigns, ActionAid is helping to distribute water purification
tablets, jerry cans and soap.
"Basically we want to create an enabling
environment for them to be able to practice those good hygienic practices," he
ActionAid and others have also
launched an effort to clear rubbish from six Harare townships. "Rubbish also
contributes to the spread of cholera because as rubbish accumulates in the
neighborhood there's bound to be breeding of flies in those areas. And a fly is
one of the major transmitters of the cholera bacteria,' he says.