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Cholera outbreak claims 2 in Mt Darwin

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Cholera in Zimbabwe

Two people died of cholera, while 26 others have been admitted at Mt Darwin District Hospital suffering from the waterborne disease.

Mt Darwin district nursing officer Sister Anna Chinyemba confirmed that one person died on Sunday, while another died yesterday morning.

Sister Chinyemba said all the cases were reported in the artisanal mining area of Mukaradzi. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has since called for an urgent meeting in an effort to combat the deadly disease.

“We have a problem of cholera which broke out on Sunday,” said Sister Chinyemba.

“So far, we have 26 patients who are admitted at Mt Darwin District Hospital. We have two deaths so far. The other patient who was affected died on their way to the hospital and another patient died yesterday at the hospital.

“The affected people are artisanal miners from Mukaradzi mining area. We are trying all that we can to assist the affected. We are still investigating the source of cholera.

We have sent some samples to the laboratory to ascertain that it is cholera although we are treating it as such.”

The World Health Organisation has since announced that it is setting up a cholera treatment camp in Mt Darwin as reinforcement.

Mukaradzi Mine is 25 kilometres from Mt Darwin and fears are that the disease could spread to other neighbouring districts like Bindura.

“We suspect that the outbreak could have been caused by poor sanitation since most of the mining activities taking place in the area are illegal,” said Sister Chinyemba.

The area is congested with artisanal miners and there is illegal vending taking place there. The area does not have safe water sources. Most of the people affected are men.”

Sister Chinyemba said Government was making frantic efforts to try and combat the disease and avoid a possible spread to its environs.

“Although as a hospital we are prepared to deal with cholera, indications are that the number could go up and we might soon be overwhelmed,” she said.

“We will need assistance and reinforcement from Government to bolster our personnel and medicine stocks. We urge people in the district to practice good hygiene to prevent cholera. We also urge people to report cases of diarrhoea and abdominal disorder early to avoid loss of lives.”

When The Herald visited the hospital, cholera patients were not isolated either was it decontaminated, causing a serious health threat to other patients and health personnel.

The Herald

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HEALTH

Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies

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Perrence-Shiri-Dead

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perence Shiri, a retired general who helped plot the ouster of Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has died, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

Perence Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said. He died in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not say how Shiri died.

But domestic media said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.

A liberation war veteran,Perrence Shiri had a chequered past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s massacres of thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.

The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Perence Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.Reuters

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HEALTH

US buys nearly all of Gilead’s Covid-19 drug Remdesivir

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Remdesivir Covid 19

The US is buying nearly all the next three months’ projected production of Covid-19 treatment Remdesivir from US manufacturer Gilead.

The US health department announced on Tuesday it had agreed to buy 500,000 doses for use in American hospitals. Tests suggest Remdesivir cuts recovery times, though it is not yet clear if it improves survival rates.

Gilead did sign a licensing deal in May for production outside the US but it is still in its early stages.

“President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. A course of treatment in the US will cost $2,340 (£1,900).

Nine companies can make the drug under licence outside the US for distribution in 127 mostly poorer countries, and the cost is lower. But the project is still in its early stages.

Additional quantities are being manufactured for use in clinical trials. But critics say the US move to buy up so much stock from Gilead itself undermines international co-operation on COVID, given that other countries have taken part in trials of Remdesivir, originally an anti-viral against Ebola.

“The trial that gave the result that allowed Remdesivir to sell their drug wasn’t just done in the US. There were patients participating through other European countries, in the UK as well, and internationally, Mexico and other places,” Oxford University’s Prof Peter Horby told BBC Radio 4.

He said the move also had implications for any possible future vaccine, with the need for “a much stronger framework if we are going to develop these things and they’re going to be used for national emergencies”.

Senior Sussex University lecturer, Ohid Yaqub, said: “It so clearly signals an unwillingness to co-operate with other countries and the chilling effect this has on international agreements about intellectual property rights.”Some in the US have criticised the purchase price, as taxpayer money had helped fund Remdesivir’s development.BBC

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HEALTH

17 new Zimbabwe Covid-19 cases confirmed

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Zimbabwe Covid 19

Seventeen new cases of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe, a majority of which are from quarantine facilities were reported yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 591.

From the cases confirmed yesterday, 13 involved returnees from South Africa, one from Botswana while three were local transmissions. The Ministry of Health and Child Care daily update shows that one of the cases confirmed as a local transmission had to contact with a known confirmed case.

Investigations are, however, underway to establish the source of infection for the two other local transmissions. Cases of recoveries also continue to increase with the latest statistics from the update standing at 162, leaving the country with 421 active COVID 19 cases.

The latest recoveries were reported from Mashonaland East (3), Mashonaland Central (2), Bulawayo (2), Matabeleland North (2), Mashonaland West (1) and Manicaland (1). The number of people who have died from the virus remains at seven.

“To date, the total number of confirmed cases is 591, recovered 162, active cases, 422 and seven deaths since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020,” reads part of the update.

Zimbabwe has so far conducted 67 755 tests for Covid-19 from which, 30 711 were diagnostic tests while the remaining were rapid tests done for screening purposes. The Herald

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