- Sep 09, 2018
- Festus Allasseh
Zimbabwe's ex-health minister David Parirenyatwa
has reportedly said a deadly cholera outbreak in Harare is feared to have killed at least five people while 35 others have been admitted at a hospital.
A medical staff from HARAARE city admitted being overwhelmed by the current cholera outbreak amid fears the scourge could spread to other parts of the country after bodies of some of the victims were transported for burial in rural areas.
At least 5 people have been confirmed dead with 35 recently said to have been admitted at the Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital for treatment.
As gathered by NewsDay, the cholera outbreak has been heightened by local authorities' struggles in providing clean water and the collection of garbage because of financial challenges.
Officials are trying to find the source of the outbreak, which is currently limited to two suburbs in the capital.
More continue to be examined for symptoms of
the deadly disease which had been reported in
Harare’s Glen View and Budiriro suburbs.
During a Friday media tour of the affected areas, George Mutawa, a city doctor for Harare’s south western district said many suspected cases of the epidemic were among people who turned up for examination at Glen View polyclinic suffering dehydration.
“We are now overwhelmed by the numbers of
people seeking medical attention and we have
limited staff to render services needed at the
moment,” said Dr Mutawa.
He also warned city authorities not to ignore the problem for fear “treatment would be
Among some of the cholera deaths reported
were of people whose relatives had transported their bodies to rural areas for burial.
“Most of them went out of town. Maybe this was to avoid supervision,” said Mutawa, adding, “Cholera deaths should be buried on the same day so that people do not gather.
“Investigations yesterday (Thursday) showed
victims’ families had already left.
“We are now following up on them to avoid
more infections. Only one body is still at the
Among some of the outbreak causes cited were
poor sanitation and the sourcing of drinking water from unprotected city wells.
Boreholes have also been cited among the major causes of waterborne diseases with claims much of the water was not 100 percent safe to drink.
“Vending in open places where fresh meat, fish and all sorts of things are being sold in unhygienic places, burst sewer pipes and continuous flow of raw sewage for some years have also exacerbated the problem,” Mutawa said.
At the Polyclinic, long queues were witnessed as mothers seemed in panic when medical staff seemed not fast enough to attend to their wailing babies.
“We have been here since morning and we no
longer have diapers for our children. We need
urgent help now,” one woman shouted.
Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba, accompanied by
Glen View South Constituency MP, Vimbai Java-
Tsvangirai visited the clinic and homes of the
cholera victims where they took time to donate
Gomba stressed the need for the identification of infection source while appealing for well-wishers to assist the victims’ families.
Harare City Council has, for years, failed to provide adequate service delivery to its residents.
Friday, raw sewage could be seen flowing along some roads in the Glen View 3 and Area 8.
Failure to provide clean water and to have proper and consistent refuse collection has led to many outbreaks of typhoid and cholera.
In 2008-9 approximately ten years ago, more than 4,000 people died in the country with more than 100,000 were infected.
Some Non-government groups claimed that the sudden outbreak of cholera and typhoid in Harare was causing grave concerns.
In a statement, the NGOs said that the outbreak was emanating from a spate of unattended sewer bursts in Harare suburb of Glen View.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Parirenyatwa urged citizens to wash their hands and commended the Harare City Council for responding quickly to the outbreak.
"Wash your hands and make sure the water you are drinking is safe. If you do not have water that is clean then we have this problem that we are facing.
It is usually a problem of water which is contaminated," the former minister was quoted as saying.