The Red Cross prevents cholera epidemics in Zimbabwe

Photo: Kuva: Zimbabwen Punainen Risti

The Finnish Red Cross is preventing cholera epidemics in Zimbabwe with the support of the European Union and donors.

Cholera epidemics have broken out in the largest cities in Zimbabwe nearly annually since 2002. Usually the cholera epidemics spread from the larger cities to different areas in rest of the country.  
Due to the weak financial situation in Zimbabwe, a large number of people have quickly moved away from rural areas to find work in the region surrounding the capital city, Harare. Urban planning has not been able to keep up with the migration.

This has led to a situation where a significant part of the urban population live in areas where they do not have access to clean water or hygiene amenities or where waste treatment is inadequate.  
These conditions expose them to cholera and other diseases spread through dirty water. Cholera, for example, is a highly infectious disease that usually spreads to humans through contaminated water.  

Help with the support of European Union and donors 

The European Union has granted the Finnish Red Cross EUR 700,000 for preparing for cholera epidemics in Zimbabwe. Some of the aid is also funded through the disaster relief fund. 
We are working together with the Zimbabwean Red Cross. We aim to prevent cholera epidemic outbreaks in the most vulnerable communities. We are also working together with the Zimbabwean Red Cross to develop the preparedness for preventing the spread of cholera epidemics in case of an outbreak. 
We aim to prevent the spreading of cholera epidemics by improving people's awareness about the transmission of waterborne diseases. This includes guidance on the necessary hand and food hygiene, for example.

The Zimbabwean Red Cross will also train 200 new volunteers who are able to respond to cholera epidemics quickly and locally.  
“The Zimbabwean Red Cross has a great deal of experience in preventing cholera pandemics. The new volunteers will be trained to identify the typical symptoms of cholera, for example, and to know what to do when they encounter cholera,” says Sofia Itämäki, the International Aid Planning Officer of the Finnish Red Cross. 
The Finnish Red Cross also supports the Zimbabwean Red Cross through human resources. The aid workers of the Finnish Red Cross will offer necessary support.


Development cooperation
Development cooperation