Zimbabwe crowdfunds to tackle cholera emergency

18 Sep 18

Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency and launched a crowdfunding campaign to tackle an outbreak of cholera, which has so far killed more than 20 people.

Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency and launched a crowdfunding campaign to tackle an outbreak of cholera, which has so far killed more than 20 people.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said on Twitter that the government has set up “an auditable emergency crowdfund” to fight the outbreak.

He shared a mobile payment account number for people to donate via a phone app on the same tweet.

The government has also declared a state of emergency and banned public gatherings in Harare, where the outbreak is worst, to prevent the spread of infection.

Ten years ago, an outbreak of the infection killed more than 4,000 people and at least 100,000 were sick.

At the time, president Robert Mugabe agreed to share power with the opposition, as the government did not have enough money to deal with the crisis.

Since the beginning of the outbreak on 6 September, 3,000 people have been infected after water wells were contaminated with sewage in the capital. Amnesty International, a global NGO, warned that the outbreak was caused by a lack of investment in infrastructure and healthcare.

Its executive director Jessica Pwiti said: “The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system. It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease.”

The government-backed Herald reported that telecommunication company Econet Wireless has already contributed $10m and the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has given $250,000. The Presidents Fund, a charity, also responded with $100,000. 

The World Health Organisation has said the disease has spread to five of the country’s 10 provinces.

WHO is supporting the Zimbabwe government’s Ministry of Health and Child Care department to fight the outbreak by mobilising national and international health experts and strengthening infection and prevention control.

The government is also working with international partners to expand cholera response actions, including increasing access to clean and safe water in the most affected areas.

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