Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa today said his administration is making sure that all local authorities, regardless of who controls them, are functional and responsive to the public health needs of residents.
Writing in his weekly column in the Sunday Mail, Mangagwa said he was disturbed by the recurring outbreaks of cholera which killed over 4 000 people in 2008 and has so far killed more than a 100 this year.
He said that the lasting solution to the cholera outbreaks was more in service delivery than in drugs, hospitals and clinics.
“I am happy that the Ministry of Local Government and Public Work is now seized with this challenge of ensuring all our local authorities, regardless of who controls them, become functional and responsive to the public health needs of residents,” he said.
“We have lost enough lives already to hefty public health failures, which could have been prevented by the provision of efficient services and amenities. Government will not hesitate to intervene where local authorities show lacklustre performance, thus endangering our people.”
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change controls 33 of the 34 urban councils. Government intervention could be seen as arbitrarily taking over the administration of local authorities which the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front failed to wrest from the CCC in the August elections.
Below is Mnangagwa’s full article:
Zimbabwe, alongside several countries in our Southern African region, and more than 19 on the African continent, continues to suffer bouts of cholera outbreaks.
The worst outbreak was in 2008 and 2009, where we lost over 4 000 Zimbabweans. We had a further major outbreak in 2018, where we lost some lives. Currently, we recorded fresh intermittent outbreaks from February this year, starting in Chegutu.
By the middle of this month of October, our country had recorded over 4 000 cases of cholera in all the country’s 10 provinces, with more than 100 lives being lost.
Manicaland’s Buhera district was the worst affected; outbreaks in Harare’s poorest suburbs are threatening to become endemic.
While the current wave of cholera outbreak has now been brought under control, the mere fact of increased frequencies of such outbreaks, and in both wet and dry seasons, is a cause for grave concern.
The disease’s rapid spread, once it breaks out, is also worrying. All these factors enjoin us to plan and mount broad, strategic interventions to end this public health menace, which raises our country’s risk profile.
Regarded as easy to cause, and also easy to cure and prevent, recurring incidences of cholera outbreak in our country are an inexcusable indictment on our poor social services delivery record.
This threatens our ambition to become a modern, upper middle-income society by 2030.
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