The international human rights group, Amnesty International has called on the government to take urgent action to address the Cholera outbreak in Harare. The rights groups said the outbreak is an indictment of the government’s failure to invest in basic water and sanitation infrastructure as well as the health care system. Amnesty International also criticized the government for failing to learn from the 2008 cholera outbreak. Jessica Pwiti, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe said,
The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system. It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease.
Given what happened in 2008 the government should have been better prepared. But no lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic and the outbreak and deaths we’re seeing now is symptomatic of a still broken-down sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by shortages of drugs and medical supplies.
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The newly elected government of Zimbabwe must learn from its predecessor’s mistakes and take action that stops people dying from preventable diseases. The authorities must invest in proper sanitation and health infrastructure and ensure universal access to health care.
If Zimbabwe lacks the resources to address these issues it can and is obliged under international law to request assistance to do so. As the government itself has now admitted this is a national disaster which requires an immediate and effective response.