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Zimbabwe: Overseas Aid

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 10 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution the Government is making in terms of (a) resources and (b) personnel to the World Health Organisation’s efforts to respond to the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. (240848)

The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing a £10 million package of support to respond to the cholera outbreak and the collapse of health services in Zimbabwe. The cholera has killed hundreds of people and hospitalised several thousands more.

As part of this package we are strengthening the capacity of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to strengthen its capacity to co-ordinate the cholera response, and ensure timely surveillance and effective health information systems to track and respond to new cholera cases.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the £3 million in aid for Zimbabwe he announced on 26 November is to be spent; and if he will make a statement. (241260)

The collapse of the water and sanitation system in Zimbabwe has resulted in the worst cholera epidemic in the country’s history and has already led to thousands of cases and several hundred deaths. Fatality rates are high because of the collapse of the health system.

The additional £3 million funding will be disbursed through the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Department for International Development's funding will help provide life-saving health services and safe drinking water in the areas worst hit, better co-ordination, surveillance, and hygiene education. These additional funds will also help prevent and respond to other epidemics should they occur in the coming months.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much of his Department’s aid to Zimbabwe in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09 was used, or is intended to be used, for water and sanitation projects. (241262)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided both emergency and longer-term support for water, sanitation and hygiene in Zimbabwe over the past three years. This has been mainly through direct contributions to UNICEF for emergency disease preparedness programmes (including cholera) and also through the DFID Protracted Relief Programme (PRP) which seeks to provide longer-term sustainable solutions to supplying potable water. In 2007-08 a total of £700,000 was channelled through NGO partners under the PRP and a contribution of £1 million was made through UNICEF for disease preparedness. This year (2008-09) £1.9 million was channelled through NGOs for a strengthened response to access to clean water and participatory health and hygiene education.