Sadc calls for team work to fight cholera

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Health Reporter

SADC Governments have been urged to adopt a collaborative approach in implementing measures to deal with the current cholera outbreak affecting the region.

Since last year, five countries in the region have reported cholera outbreaks, accounting for 73 percent of all the cases recorded in Africa.

SADC yesterday convened a virtual extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting which sought to discuss the cholera situation in the region and map ways to control the surge of cases.

This follows a meeting by SADC Ministers of Health last week to assess the cholera situation and identify possible measures for the region to comprehensively prevent and control the disease

Speaking during the meeting yesterday, SADC executive secretary Elias Magosi said the solutions to the problem were within the region’s reach and it was imperative for countries to collectively implement measures with great diligence.

“Cholera elimination requires high level political commitment. We would like to applaud member states for taking steps to contain the cholera situation and for their country to country bilateral cooperation to manage cholera cases across our borders.

“It is our strong belief that mitigating cholera requires a thorough review of our national climate adaptation plans to ensure the inclusion of robust multi sectoral strategies that account for climate sensitive health issues.

“Additionally, we must work together to provide clean and safe drinking water to our communities and improve sanitation practices to prevent the contamination of the water diseases,” he said.

“As we face new and emerging health threats like cholera, it is important that we redouble our efforts by working together as a region, leveraging our collective knowledge and resources, and maintaining our commitment to the well-being of the SADC region’s citizens.”

He said the meeting of Council would serve as a guide on concrete actions for consideration by the Heads of State and Government.

Angola Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Tete Antonio who chairs the SADC Council of Ministers said the meeting of the Ministers of Health had made it clear that the current outbreak needed urgent action.

“The movement of people, goods and movement across our borders generates an environment in which cholera can easily spread. Affecting not only one country, but the whole SADC region. This scenario calls for a coordinated regional response to face this challenge as no country can fight on its own,” he said.

Speaking after the meeting, acting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the among other key issues, the Council of Ministers had agreed to enhance coordination responses across and within borders to effectively control and limit the spread of the disease.

“We also agreed to prioritise the mobilisation of resources for the deployment of a robust response to the outbreak, strengthen public health surveillance, improve the rate of detection and limit the spread of cholera and to coordinate activities in the country and within the region, as well as with partners to equip laboratories.

“The general consensus was that there is a need for a united and coordinated regional response to the cholera outbreak and commitment by the region’s leaders to prioritise citizens’ health, as a key driver underpinning human and economic development,” he said.

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