Development Health

EU and UNICEF working together to prevent and control cholera in Zimbabwe


The European Union has contributed €400,000 to support UNICEF’s response to Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak.

The contribution will fund critical water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities to address the challenges driving the epidemic. In cholera-affected and high-risk areas, over 250,000 people are expected to benefit from disinfection of water sources and follow-up on cholera cases with hygiene promotion and support materials including soap.

UNICEF is collaborating with the City of Harare and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners to respond to the outbreak. With Government, UNICEF co-chairs the WASH Emergency Strategic Advisory Group (E-SAG) to coordinate the response.

“With the imminent onset of seasonal rains, this European Commission contribution is timely to cut cholera transmission, help reduce the risk of future cholera outbreaks and mobilise communities around prevention and response activities,” said UNICEF Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala.

The current outbreak began in Zimbabwe on 5 September 2018, with the epicentre in the Glenview and Budiriro suburbs of Harare, the result of a local borehole reportedly contaminated with sewage leaking from burst pipes.

“We are committed to help those in need in Zimbabwe. We are stepping up our efforts to address the outbreak of cholera. We will do everything to prevent the spread of this disease and stop it as soon as possible,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

To date, almost 10,000 suspected cases and over 50 deaths have been recorded in the current cholera outbreak. Ongoing intensive interventions, including contact tracing and case investigations, have helped to reduce new cases from hundreds to tens per day.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende