Radio Communications System to Help Zimbabwean Rural Health Centres Combat Cholera

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IOM has handed over radio communications equipment to Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in an effort to improve disease outbreak reporting and response times at rural health centres in remote border areas.

The donation, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), is part of a broader project on Cholera Emergency Surveillance and Response in border areas including Hurungwe, Mbire, Mt. Darwin, Mudzi, Mutare, Chipinge, Chimanimani and Chiredzi.

Each district will get the equipment it needs to bridge the communication gap between rural health centres and district hospitals. The equipment will help the public health system to respond faster to cholera and other disease outbreaks, and to control their spread.

One of the major challenges encountered in the August 2008 – July 2009 cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe was inadequate communication between rural health centres and the district level.

This resulted in slow reporting, slow responses, and diminished capacity at the rural health facility level to respond and treat cases, due to the difficulty of relaying their supply needs to the district level.

Revitalizing the radio communication system will improve surveillance and reporting capacity, while providing a longer term solution to the current communication gaps.

In addition to revitalizing the radio communication system, the ECHO-funded project is also speeding up response times to reported outbreaks through the provision of supplies and human resource support, construction of pit latrines at border posts with poor water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, providing cholera case management refresher trainings to primary health care staff, and training community members and leaders on health and hygiene promotion.

For more information please contact, Zuzana Jankechova, IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263 4 335048.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)

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