SADC ramp up efforts in fight against the cholera outbreak

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) today held a virtual Extra Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government to deliberate on the cholera outbreak and come up with interventions to fight the outbreak.

The cholera outbreak has hit a number of SADC states. Since last year, five SADC countries have reported cholera outbreaks, accounting for 73 percent of all the cases recorded in Africa. Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania have reported cholera cases in the region.

The summit was attended by five heads of state and representatives from other member states.

President Mnangagwa and incoming Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) this morning participated at the virtual the summit.

The regional block issued a communique after the summit with resolutions which seek to tame the cholera outbreak being made.

“Summit received a Report of the Extra Ordinary Meeting of SADC Ministers of Health on the Cholera outbreak in the SADC region”, read the communique.

SADC expressed deep condolences and sympathies to the countries and families on the loss of lives due to the Cholera outbreak.

A report by the council of Ministers and its recommendations was tabled and adopted by the Heads of State and Government.

“Summit endorsed the following recommendations of the Ministers of Health on measures to be put in place by the SADC region in addressing the Cholera outbreak, urging Member States to..’ read the communique.

SADC member states called for strengthening of regional collaboration on cross-border outbreak risk.

Member states were urged to carry out assessment and public health surveillance to enhance early detection and prevention of outbreak-prone diseases.

For the outbreak to be contained nations were urged to develop and implement multi-sectoral cholera response plans that encompass natural disasters and climatic effects on cholera re-emergence to effectively control its spread.

The summit resolved to implement a joint plan and implement synchronised cross border vaccination campaigns against Cholera, if necessary, and mobilise vaccines for affected and non-affected countries at risk, and report annually to Council.

Given the outbreak’s intensity and spread countries agreed to increase investment in the current cholera emergency response while maintaining long-term investment for a sustainable solution to the recurrent cholera crisis;

Vaccination has to be scaled up in the region while nations develop and implement climate-resilient Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Disaster Risk Reduction programmes to prevent future cholera outbreaks.

More funding for WASH infrastructure, and provide efficient waste management and sustainable supply of clean water is required.

Governments were urged to strengthen accountability tools for monitoring WASH interventions and local governments reporting on their WASH performance annually.

SADC commended its International Cooperating Partners, namely: the Africa CDC, WHO, UNICEF and WFP for the technical and financial support towards the cholera response in the SADC region.

President Hakainde Hichilema of the Republic of Zambia, was designated as the regional Cholera Champion to spearhead the fight against cholera in the SADC region.

The cholera outbreak can be defeated if all SADC member states implement the resolutions of the extra ordinary summit. Zimbabwe has already taken strong measures at Central Government level to contain the outbreak, with tangible gains being registered in the intervening period

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