January 16 2009

Further assistance to cholera patients

16/01/2009 - Following the cholera outbreak amongst co-workers of the SOS Maizelands Farm in the Shamva district, some family members and neighbouring farmers, SOS Children's Villages Zimbabwe is investigating the extent of further help.

Mr Aaron Mukwirimba, SOS Vocational Training Centre co-ordinator, reported that by end of 14 January, eleven cases of cholera had been treated at the treatment centre set up at the SOS Technical and Vocational Training Centre in Shamva near Bindura [please read our news from 14 January]. All but four of these cases have been treated and discharged since the centre was set up on Tuesday.

An old lady of about 70 years of age who presented at the centre yesterday was treated overnight but has now fully recovered and was discharged this morning. "I was very close to death when I came here", the lady commented on discharge. An infant and two other patients were also discharged this morning.

Mr Mukwirimba advised that news had reached him of six deaths that had occurred on neighbouring farms before the treatment centre had been established. The victims had not been able to make it in time to the main Bindura treatment centre.

SOS Children's Villages Zimbabwe is investigating the extent to which SOS Children's Villages can offer assistance to farm workers on neighbouring farms within a three to four kilometre radius of SOS Maizelands farm. It is planned that preventive measures from UNICEF such as aquatabs for purification of water, soap and water containers will be distributed to surrounding farms. "Without this distribution we will see larger numbers of people coming to the treatment centre we have set up here", commented Mr Mukwirmba.

Photo: SOS Archives
Distribution of relief items in Harare in December 2008 - Photo: SOS Archives
"As our organisation is part of the farming community in Shamva we are well placed to facilitate distribution of emergency relief items to our neighbours. We plan to operate in the same way that we have penetrated urban communities through our SOS Social Centres and family strengthening programmes [please see our news from 12 December 2008]; by partnering with the relevant government bodies and UNICEF and delivering UNICEF emergency relief items to those farm workers who we are able to identify", stated Gary Birditt, director of SOS Children's Villages Zimbabwe. "Furthermore some of our neighbours in Shamva are re-settlers who have acquired small plots of land through the government's land reform programme. They do not have the capacity to respond to the outbreak of cholera", he added.