Last week, in response to an ongoing cholera outbreak, the government of Zimbabwe banned large gatherings in the hopes of reducing the growing number of cases.1
In addition to baring large gatherings, other mitigation measures have been advised, such as not shaking hands with others, not eating food at gatherings, and not buying food and beverages from unknown or unlicensed sellers.2
The announcement comes after Zimbabwe recorded over 5K cases of cholera and 100 possibly related deaths in September. In early October, health officials confirmed that 30 of the deaths were the result of Cholera and updated the case count to 905 confirmed and another 4.6K suspected cases.3
Cholera is contracted through the consumption of water or food that has been contaminated through unsanitary conditions. Once ingested, the bacteria causes acute diarrhea and can become severe and result in death.2
Public health advisor Agnes Mahomva said, 'We are concerned that there is an outbreak. We need to step up our action.' Mahomva's statement comes as concern spreads that the public health situation will escalate to a repeat of the 2008 outbreak that resulted in at least 4K deaths.1
The World Health Organization has warned that the risk of a cholera outbreak is heightened in Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, and Mozambique as the countries grapple with poor infrastructure, water insecurity, and the exacerbation of these issues as a result of climate change.3
Narrative A, as provided by Gavi. The impacts of increased, climate-catalyzed extreme weather are more prevalent on the African continent, and as a result, the diseases that are abundant there are exacerbated. As epidemics and outbreaks grow, more vulnerable areas are suffering — especially women and children. As the impacts grow more severe we can expect to see an increase in epidemics and an increase in the cost to fight them.
Narrative B, as provided by WHO. Regardless of the cause, the government of Zimbabwe has made great strides forward in its battle against cholera outbreaks. With the ambitious goal of eradicating the illness, Zimbabwe will continue to receive support from international partners. Zimbabwe has all the tools to manage cholera's dangers in improve public health for all of its citizens.