#CholeraOutbreak: Is Zim Gvt Primitive, Insensitive or Ignorant?

Harare — Appearing live on national television, the minister of health Obadiah Moyo declared that: “I like to work under pressure,”  adding that “he likes challenges,” in response to the cholera outbreak that has claimed 25 innocent lives — with more than 2 million lives under threat.

In short, is he was calling the death of people a challenge so that he and his government can prove something? And this was during a donation by cooperates to help fight the marauding scourge. 

Instead of tackling the disease head on, the minister is waging a boomerang war of words, blaming the opposition for running down urban councils, as if his government has fared any better on other national fronts.  

The severity of the 2008 outbreak, last recorded a decade earlier, was attributed to poor access of health care, poor health infrastructure, high HIV prevalence, political instability, food shortages, high levels of displaced people and lack of access to safe water.
The Health delivery System is in the Intensive Care Unity

High inflation triggered severe basic food shortages, collapse of service delivery and large volumes of refugees moving within the country and to neighbouring countries amplified the rapid spared of cholera. Raw sewage from burst and aging municipal pipes contaminated urban domestic water system, creating a national catastrophe - and this is still haunting Zimbabwe.

While some may call cholera 'primitive' — actions by the current government suggest worse than that. Soon after his inauguration, the finance mister is occupied with setting up a crowdfunding initiative to alleviate a disease that has a magnitude to wipe out thousands - just like in 2008 when 5 000 lives were lost. 

Behind the scenes, the government in lining up millions to purchase expensive cars for legislators just like what they splashed for chiefs, judges, election campaigns and similar excesses. Similar primitive thoughts were alluded to former president Robert Mugabe a decade ago as the epidemic ravaged the country — affecting 100 000. 

“I am happy to say our doctors have been assisted by others and WHO (the World Health Organisation). So now that there is no cholera.

“Because of cholera, Mr Brown wants a military intervention. Bush wants military intervention because of cholera. There is no cause for war any more. The cholera cause doesn't exist anymore,” former President Mugabe said, angering affected citizens.

And it seems these sentiments are still prevailing. But the finance minister's moves are appreciated though they open a Pandora box.

Previously, the European Union, Britain and the Netherlands made significant donations of €9 million, £3 million and £5 million separately. Other international agencies availed fresh water and essential drugs — though they were skeptical that the aid could be diverted to prop Mugabe’s prolonged stay in power. 

Recently, Econet Wireless availed $10 million to help manage a dual outbreak of cholera and typhoid following the declaration of an emergency in Harare. President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended $100 000 towards the same cause.

Politicians have now seized the sad event to score political gains. While their involvement is welcome, how does it assist in curbing the problem? However, some sobering thoughts have emanated from the cross section of the country that may assist the current administration.  

“This is how deep the rot goes. At this point every penny counts, for without resources more lives will be lost. But the continued determination by government to spend huge amounts on peripheral patronage materialism when we have been living with typhoid deaths in Gweru and all indications pointed towards a catastrophe, is evidence of how badly we plan ahead,” Dr Nkosana Moyo's party asked. 

“How does a govt that splurges on jets & cars crowdfund for a national emergency? Does the right to life mean nothing at all to this new administration? If you can’t prioritize funding public health in the midst of a crisis, we are going nowhere very quickly. This is an insult,” losing parliament candidate Fadzai Mahere quizzed.

So how many deaths will it take for the state to move swiftly, hopefully not 5 000 like in 2008. This bickering and blame must cease forthwith to save innocent lives and deliver on election promises.

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