THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has announced that schools must follow its cholera protocols to enable a safe return to school for the first term of this year starting tomorrow.
Speaking at a National Clean-Up Campaign at Warren Park High School in Harare on Friday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Torerayi Moyo, emphasised the need to have running water at school gates, toilets and ablution facilities, alongside the installation of hand sanitising provisions.
Despite recent outbreaks of cholera in Zimbabwe, the Government has said it will not delay the start of the first term, unlike Zambia, which has postponed the opening of schools until January 29. “We encourage school administrators, supported by schools’ development committees to ensure there is running water.
“Where we experience water shortages, we need to devise some strategies for ensuring that water is there.
“There should be running water at the gate. As learners come to school, they need to wash their hands or perhaps better sanitise them at the gate.
“At every strategic place in our schools, be it toilets or ablution facilities, there must be running water.
“Zambia deferred schools opening due to a cholera outbreak and I was told by a journalist that in Zambia they have postponed the opening of schools to 29 January.
“We can’t lock our schools, but we have to make sure that we prevent the further spread of the disease,” said Minister Moyo.
Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Douglas Mombeshora, said the Government is working to procure cholera vaccines with technical support from GAVI and the World Health Organisation.
“There is no cholera vaccine that is free on the market and all vaccines are now under the control of WHO and GAVI.
“We had our final meeting on January 4 with WHO so after mapping of the districts that are going to be targeted for vaccination, we have been promised that hopefully by Wednesday next week, we will have approvals and then we should be able to start getting the vaccines,” said Dr Mombeshora.
As of yesterday, the country had recorded 15 755 suspected cholera cases over the last few months, of which 1 885 were confirmed cases, with 67 confirmed deaths and 286 suspected deaths.