Statement on the prevailing cholera outbreak

JCT notes with concern the current outbreak of cholera in Harare and other affected parts of the country. The subsequent declaration of a State of Disaster by the Government of Zimbabwe is welcome, and will assist in bringing the plight to the fore and in mobilising critical response resources.

JCT is concerned that Zimbabwe continues to experience a preventable disease which is no longer experienced by comparative developing countries. Insufficient safe water, burst sewer pipes, uncollected refuse, illegal dumpsites and poor service delivery continue to undermine the promise of the Constitution to good health and clean environment. Cholera emanating from these preventable service delivery issues directly offends commitments this society has made to its children. Specifically, it offends the right to health in sections 76 and 81(1)(f) of the Constitution. This is exacerbated by an ailing public health system facing a plethora of challenges thereby further exposing children.

Where infectious disease epidemics break out, it is the poor and vulnerable who are most affected, and children top the list. Children become direct casualties and collateral victims, as not only their health and lives are threatened, but also their education and other rights. JCT thus makes the following calls:

To the responsible authorities:

  • Ensure judicious prioritisation and use of resources, and
  • Ensure that service delivery is optimal and that clean water, a functional public health system, and clean environments are provided.

To communities and duty bearers:

  • Ensure that children are cared for at all times and that they are in clean spaces;
  • Ensure that children are hydrated, hygienic and are provided with clean, healthy and nutritious diets; and
  • Ensure that suspected cholera cases are immediately reported to the medical authorities for immediate attention.

We implore concerted effort to eradicate cholera. JCT continues to educate communities on the right to health, lobby for authorities to act responsibly, advocate for policy and legal implementation and reform where necessary, and implore communities and duty bearers to act in ways that do not put children’s health and lives in danger. JCT continues to work through its Safer Cities and related programmes to ensure clean, safe and healthy environments for children.

Source: Justice for Children Trust (JCT)

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