Harare, 17 Dec. 2018 Today witnessed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and World Health Organization signing a USD 1 million grant for emergency assistance to support efforts to control and stop the 2018 cholera outbreak. The $1 million will be used to contribute to financing implementation of Zimbabwe’s National Cholera response plan. The World Health Organization will administer the implementation of this grant on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.
The Grant is expected to support implementation of priority activities aimed at stopping the current cholera outbreak while at the same time building critical capacities at national and sub-national levels that will ensure timely and effective response to any future cholera outbreaks. These activities ultimately contribute to the building of national core capacities under IHR (2005).
The grant will finance:
- Capacity Building consisting of training local authorities and village health workers, supporting community mobilization, and providing allowances to health workers involved in cholera control and response activities;
- Procurement of essential supplies consisting of personal protection equipment and materials, medical supplies, disinfectants and detergents, water purification tablets, water quality monitoring kits and laboratory equipment, chemicals and reagents; and
- Support to Ministry of Health and Child Care field monitoring.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, WHO Representative to Zimbabwe, Dr Alex Gasasira acknowledged and appreciated the contribution of the AfDB to the cholera outbreak response effort. He applauded the strong leadership of Government of Zimbabwe in developing and implementing a multi-sectoral cholera outbreak response plan. Dr Gasasira appreciated the generous provision of financial, technical and logistical support from the AfDB. This support, will complement resources already provided by the Zimbabwe Government as well as stakeholders from private sector, civil society and other development partners and will contribute to effective implementation of the national outbreak response plan. Effective implementation of the national outbreak response plan, since early September 2018, has resulted in a dramatic reduction in new cholera cases from hundreds of cases daily at the onset, to less than ten cases daily now. The support from AfDB will accelerate progress towards attainment of zero new cholera cases.
The AfDB Country Manager for the Zimbabwe Country Office, Mr. Damoni Kitabire said the signing ceremony was a practical demonstration of the African Development Bank’s commitment to extending a helping hand to its constituent members in times of crisis, like the current cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. He said that while a response mechanism is already in existence, this financial assistance for the procurement of supplies as well as improved case management will assist to mitigate further spread of cholera particularly due to the increased movement of people during the festive season, particularly during the rainy season when the risk of spread of cholera infection is enhanced. “This support has largely drawn on the Health Cluster Cholera Response Plan as agreed upon by Government and Development Partners and will be used to procure and distribute emergency response equipment and supplies, including: oral rehydration salts, chlorine, diarrheal disease kits, drugs, and for training of staff and volunteers in infection control.,” said Mr. Kitabire. Mr Kitabile pointed out that the AfDB also provided similar level of support to Zimbabwe during the devastating 2008-2009 Cholera outbreak.
The Honorable Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, in his statement acknowledged the contribution by AfDB towards cholera outbreak response in Zimbabwe. He said the grant is in response to The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development’s specific request to the Bank for financial assistance to control the outbreak. He also acknowledged all the other partners who responded to the call for support which has raised substantial amounts for cholera response activities. Prof Ncube highlighted the investment that Government of Zimbabwe is making to improving infrastructure for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in several municipalities and districts in the country. He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to promoting and protecting the health of all Zimbabwe as highlighted in the Transitional Stabilization Programme, 2018-2020 which he launched on 5th October 2018.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe, Mr George Guvamatanga Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, senior Government officials, staff from the AfDB and UN.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing a cholera outbreak since September 2018, which has so far spread to 17 districts in the country with 10,598 cumulative suspected cases and 59 deaths