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Ireland helps Zimbabwe respond to cholera outbreak

Ireland helps Zimbabwe respond to cholera outbreak

Glenview Polyclinic - Community volunteers have a critical role in health awareness & also provide psychosocial support to affected communities

The Embassy of Ireland in Pretoria recently provided funding of €250,000 to UNICEF to deliver emergency water, sanitation and health (WASH) services in Harare. This support forms part of Ireland’s response to the Cholera Outbreak in Zimbabwe, which has claimed the lives of dozens of people so far. The partnership with UNICEF also complements Ireland’s work in the health sector, where Ireland is supporting interventions to improve maternal and child health.

Emergencies – especially those affecting water and sanitation – tend to disproportionately affect women and girls. UNICEF’s response therefore, pays particular attention to gender and child protection issues. Psycho-social support is provided to the care givers of cholera related orphans and the Cholera Treatment Camps are child-friendly environments. The United Nations Population Fund, also with support from Ireland, provides emergency ‘dignity kits’ to women and girls affected by the emergency.

Edutainment by UNICEF/Oxfam to increase cholera awareness

The Ireland-funded programme engages communities through various public awareness campaigns. In the picture above, musicians hold free open space events with a cholera theme. Volunteers from the crowd may also join in dance, as well as participate in quizzes to win various promotional materials.The emergency water and sanitation interventions, which are the centre of this programme, are expected to ultimately lead to a well informed and mobilized community, equipped to prevent the further spread of cholera. This programme is also expected to lead to increased access to clean water and knowledge on how to make water fit for safe domestic use.

Latest situation reports indicate that new infections have slowed down to less than 50 suspected cases reported per day, down from over 200 at the peak of the outbreak. The World Health Organisation insists that whilst the outbreak has slowed down, it has not yet been contained. The health sector will continue to need external support for some time to come.

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