HEALTH Minister Ummy Mwalimu has cited allocation of more budget to financing water projects as among government’s efforts to fight against cholera.
Ms Mwalimu said the commitment of the government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been allocating more funds to the Ministry of Water to ensure more Tanzanians access clean and safe water for domestic use.
The minister made the statement on Tuesday when speaking during the opening of a five-day regional cholera readiness capacity building workshop in Dar es Salaam.
Her statement was in the wake of statistics indicating how Africa was grappling with the disease, with a large number of deaths occurring in the continent.
Ms Mwalimu noted that early this year, Tanzania reported 519 cases of cholera, out of which 11 people died of the disease.
The cholera cases were reported in Rukwa, Kigoma and Katavi regions.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 80 per cent of deaths from cholera between 2014 and 2021 globally occurred in Africa while the continent recorded only 20 per cent of cholera cases in the world.
The report indicates that out of 100 deaths in the world, 80 were from Africa.
The report outlined the causes of the high number of deaths in the region, including late diagnosis of epidemics, case management quality and insufficient preparedness or readiness of health system.
“This number of deaths is unacceptable, still there is work to be done to ensure that all stakeholders join hands to trim down the deaths,” she said.
The workshop was attended by representatives from Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola.
For her part, Deputy Minister for Water, Engineer Maryprisca Mahundi said Tanzania has been experiencing cholera epidemic over the years, assuring that the government has been responding to prevent and control the occurrence of the outbreak.
She further noted that considering the importance of water in the prevention and control of cholera, the ministry of water will continue to guarantee clean and safe water to Tanzanians.
“Significant progress has been made as water availability has now reached 85 per cent and 72.5 per cent in urban and rural areas respectively as of March 2022,” the Deputy Minister said.
On the other hand, country representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ms Shalini Bahuguna said she was optimistic that the workshop would enhance prevention and control of cholera.
She said the workshop would build capacity among participants on strengthening national preparedness and response, including how to strengthen surveillance and to improve water sanitation and good hygiene practices in hotspot areas.
For his part, Acting WHO country representative Dr Zabulon Yoti urged African countries to invest in water, sanitation and hygiene since it goes beyond control of cholera because they will prevent many other diseases.