8 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Response to Diarhoea Cases to Be Speeded Up

Government will this year embark on a programme to speed up responses to diarrhoea and related diseases outbreaks in the country, a senior health official has said. Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Portia Manangazira said the programme would place greater emphasis on the country's water and sanitation situation, a key determinant of the disease burden.

"We are aiming for a 50 percent reduction in cases of the common diarrhoea through strengthened surveillance and correct case management by all health care workers.

"Surveillance will ensure early reporting and swift action and curb the unprecedented spread that we have seen in previous outbreaks. Correct identification and management of cases will minimise the spread and development of complications," she said.

This follows reports that more than 12 000 cases of common diarrhoea and more than 2600 deaths were reported in the year 2012.

She said last year's typhoid capacity assessment had revealed the worsened water and sanitation situation in major urban and some rural areas in the country hence the need to tighten risk mapping key areas for diarrhoea and enteric disease outbreaks. Cases of diarrhoea have been on the increase owing to the deteriorating sanitation conditions in the country leading to cumulative figures for common diarrhoea standing at more than 450 000.

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