MSF, Red Cross brace for cholera in jails

Zimbabwean prison authorities and NGOs working in jails are braced for yet another cholera outbreak following the on-going strike by municipal workers, which has caused serious water shortages in the capital city.

Medicines Sans Frontiers says it is working with the Zimbabwe Prison Services to install emergency cholera kits in all the country’s jails.

MSF has also appealed to the International Community of the Red Cross to intervene and address widespread water and sanitation challenges by drilling boreholes and installing water tanks at prisons around the country. Other towns suffering a severe water shortage are Hurungwe and Bindura.

ZPS Deputy Commissioner Fadzai Mapure said although there had not been any outbreak of commutable diseases such as cholera in recent months, the spectre of yet another outbreak similar to that of 2009 was possible because clean water supplies and sanitation were still issues of concern in the prisons.

“The challenge we are facing is that of water and sanitation because of the number of prisoners we keep,” said Mapure. Packed prisons are ideal breeding places for commutable diseases.

He urged Zimbabweans to regard prisoners as a joint responsibility of both the community and the ZPS.

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