January 15 2009

Zimbabwe: Cases of cholera in SOS farm project

14/01/2009 - The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe now also afflicts some staff members of the Maizelands Farm in the Shamva district which is part of an SOS Vocational Training Centre. However, all those affected could be treated successfully and appropriate precautions are taken to prevent further infections.

Photo: Janie Dufty
The Maizelands Farm is providing the SOS facilities with essential goods - Photo: J. Dufty

Last weekend some first cases of cholera were reported to have occurred amongst staff members of the SOS Maizelands Farm and their relatives. A total of 22 affected people, amongst whom five children, were taken to the cholera therapy centre in Bindura at some 25 kilometres from Shamva. Most of them have already been discharged, a few are still being observed in the centre.

In addition, at the SOS training centre, to which the Maizelands Farm belongs, two treatment rooms have been set up where two nurses look after some patients. At present they are looking after an elderly woman from a neighbouring farm who probably would not have survived if she had been taken to another centre further away, as well as another woman and the child of a farm worker. All three are not in a critical condition and on the road to recovery.

The director of SOS Children's Villages Zimbabwe, Gary Birditt, spoke to Dr. Mwazha from the provincial health authorities who is in charge of the little treatment centre. Dr. Mwazha emphasises that it was thanks to the quick action of the SOS co-workers that all the people affected could be saved. Should the number of cholera cases increase, it would be possible to set up tents on the premises of the SOS training centre to treat the patients right there.

The therapy centre in Bindura is well equipped, says Dr. Mwazha. However, should any problems in terms of further supplies from the ministry of health arise, SOS Children's Villages would be able to provide medicine and other goods.

Further precautionary measures were taken with regard to soap bars, water cleaning tablets, water jerry cans etc. which were taken from Harare to Shamva and distributed amongst the 146 families of the farm workers.


Photo: SOS Archives
Young people are trained in agricultural skills - Photo: SOS Archives

The Maizeland Farm is both an agricultural training centre for young people and a commercial production enterprise which provides the SOS Children's Village facilities in Zimbabwe with vegetables and cereals - in the face of the critical supply situation in the country a very important pillar of SOS Children's Villages. A second training branch is that of metal processing. In addition, in Shamva there is a big SOS Primary School which is being attended by more than thousand children.