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ACoDD teams support ministry of health and partners to respond to the cholera outbreak in Harare, Zimbabwe

On 5 September 2018, 25 patients presenting with diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting were admitted at Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital (BRIDH). During the night of 5th September 2018, more patients were admitted. On 6 September 2018, results from rapid diagnostic test (RDT) showed that 11 cases tested positive for Vibrio cholerae.  On the same day, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo, declared an outbreak of cholera in Harare City. Subsequently, 39 stool samples were taken for culture and sensitivity, and Vibrio cholerae type Ogawa species was confirmed in 17 of them.

Following the declaration of the cholera outbreak, a multi-disciplinary team was deployed to respond and control the outbreak.  However, the number of new cases continued to increase exponentially and on the 15th September 2018, AFENET received an official request from the Ministry of Health and Child Care to support the response. The Zimbabwe FETP rapidly mobilised the AFENET Corps of Disease Detectives (ACoDD) to support the ministry of health to respond to the outbreak.

On 18 September 2018, 20 ACoDD members were deployed in outbreak hotspots within Harare City. These teams are currently supporting the following thematic areas:

1.      Surveillance and contact tracing

2.      Coordination

3.      Case management

4.      Risk communication, community engagement and social mobilisation

5.      Water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities

On 4 October 2018, the AFENET Executive Director (Dr Chima Ohuabunwo), accompanied by the Zimbabwe FETP Field Coordinator (Dr Gerald Shambira) conducted a supervisory visit at Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital.  

Up to 7,832 cholera cases had been diagnosed of which 131 cases have been confirmed and 49 have died (case fatality rate = 0.6%). Since 25th September 2018, the number of new cases has been declining.