World Vision responds to the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe

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In partnership with other organisations World Vision Zimbabwe works to improve the lives of children, their families, and communities in the country through long term development programming and short-term humanitarian assistance. Our programming focuses on health and nutrition; livelihoods, education and life skills as well as safeguarding the protection of children.

The organisation also responds to slow and rapid onset emergencies as part of its overall mandate. This includes drought response, seasonal food insecurity and outbreaks such as flash floods, cholera and typhoid.

Since September 2018 when the Government declared the cholera outbreak in Harare a state of emergency World Vision Zimbabwe, with funding support from the UK Start Network, has been implementing the Cholera Response project in Glen View and Budiriro, the epicentre of the current cholera outbreak.

This emergency response is being implemented for 45 days which started from mid-September as a way to contain the outbreak. Among other activities the project is focusing on improving access to basic water supplies for 30 schools.

WVZ Cholera Response Manager, Albert Ndanga said they are already on the ground responding to the outbreak in schools.

“We are providing fifteen schools with 5 000-litre water tanks and clean water is delivered twice a week up until the end of the response project. We have also provided 30 schools with tapped water buckets, protective clothing, disinfectants and detergents for general school cleaning and toilets,” said Ndanga.

Among other items the organisation has distributed the following:

  • 300 twenty-litre containers for storing or carrying drinking water containers with to all 30 schools.
  • A total of 150 containers with taps for hand washing
  • Cleaning accessories and protective clothing to 30 schools
  • Provided sets wheel barrows and shovels to all 30 schools for solid waste management.

In addition the project conducted a rapid one day training for 64 teachers from 32 schools on hygiene promotion. The organisation is also raising awareness on the cholera outbreak through various forms such as posters and pamphlets. More than 57 514 school children, 1 834 teachers and other staff have been reached through the response.

World Vision Zimbabwe is working with various partners who include the City of Harare, Oxfam and Higher Life Foundation among others in the epicenter of the outbreak.

Reports indicate a reduction in diarrhoeal cases among school children and staff in all the targeted schools since the start of the interventions. This has been linked to availability of safe water supplies, proper management of waste and improved personal hygiene practices due to interventions by the partners responding to the outbreak. The headmasters have also reported an improvement in school attendance. Schools that had been interrupted by the cholera outbreak are now functioning normally in all the targeted areas.

In order to ensure ownership and sustainability of the project outputs, the project has worked with school authorities and school development committees who will continue to ensure that interventions are sustained.

There is still need for continuous awareness raising on safe hygiene practices for children and their families through key hygiene messages.

There is need to ensure availability of a continuous supply of safe water that is sustainable. Challenges of bursting sewers in the areas need to be attended to expeditiously as these continue to pose a threat