A leading global medicines company has made a donation of Cholera medications to treat thousands of infected people in Zimbabwe, which has suffered an outbreak that has claimed more than 50 lives, most of them in the capital, Harare.
As many as 10,000 people in that country have been infected by cholera. So far 49 people have succumbed to the disease in the capital city, five more in Buhera.
Novartis on Tuesday said the donation of medicines valued at one million rand was handed over to the Zimbabwe government at a ceremony at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare, comprised of antibiotics and pain management medicines.
The company said the medicines, which are enough to cover dosages for 15,000 patients, were received by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. Obadiah Moyo, together with the Mayor of Harare, Herbert Gomba.
Dr Moyo said the government of Zimbabwe had declared the Cholera outbreak in Harare a State of Emergency because of the seriousness with which it takes the situation and in order to mobilise resources to contain the disease and other diarrheal diseases.
“As a government, the health of every citizen of Zimbabwe is our responsibility and priority. Declaring the Cholera outbreak as a State of Emergency is an indication of how seriously we have taken the epidemic. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has gone to great lengths to mobilise resources that will assist us to confine the disease and prevent it from spreading to other places.
“Our investigations on the cause of the outbreak are still ongoing. The findings should be a starting point for us to come up with strategies to ensure this does not happen again. We are extremely appreciative of partners such as Novartis, Sandoz and DSV for their responsiveness during this time,” he said.
Dr. Patrice Matchaba, Group Head of Global Health and Corporate Responsibility for Novartis, said eliminating diseases is still one of the company’s areas of focus.
He said with its various long-running programmes, Novartis has the opportunity to find ways of wiping out diseases especially given the level of investment the company has made towards Research and Development.
“As Novartis, our purpose is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. We have bent the disease burden curves in transplantation, heart failure, cancer, psoriasis, hypertension and cancer, changing medical practice around the world forever,” said Dr Matchaba.
“The outbreak of Cholera in Zimbabwe is a reminder that we need to continue investing in Research and Development in order to tackle diseases such as leprosy, malaria and Cholera.”