Cholera Outbreak 2008 - 2009

An epidemic of cholera infiltrated through the Zimbabwean community from August 2008 to June 2009. In December 2008, the Zimbabwean government declared the outbreak a national emergency and had requested for international aid. The cholera outbreak peaked in January 2009 with 8500 cases reported per week. 98 596 cases of cholera were reported and a total of 4369 deaths, making it the largest outbreak of cholera ever recorded in Zimbabwe. The outbreak was attributed to poor sanitation, limited access to healthcare and insufficient healthcare infrastructure in the country.

Gift of the Givers Response:

Ours was one the first relief organisations to respond to the hugely damaging outbreak of Cholera in the southern region of Zimbabwe, centred around Messina and Beit Bridge.

Following a South African Department of Health visit to the area to assess the situation and to evaluate the requirements necessary to contain the outbreak, we worked closely with both the South African and Zimbabwean Governments, as well as the management of local hospitals in order to ensure that we provided the most appropriate support. Our first convoy of supplies, valued at some R500 000, included 40 000 water purification tablets, quantities of a cough mixture, glucose drips, Sibusiso Ready Food Supplement, Surgical gloves and masks, bottled water and many food parcels. We also delivered tents, blankets, mattresses and lidded plastic buckets.

In addition, we provided a range of medical supplies.

Just three weeks later, there was a further outbreak of Cholera, this time at Madimbo, 18km from the Limpopo River. Patients were being transferred 130km by ambulance to receive care at Messina Hospital. Given this situation, we were requested to establish a clinic at Madimbo, which we did, for the on-site treatment of sufferers.

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