Bridget Mananavire 17 March 2017
HARARE – The Health ministry has issued a cholera outbreak alert after two
people died while two others are being treated of the disease in
Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.
The highly communicable disease is believed to have spread from
neighbouring Mozambique, where a cholera epidemic – infecting more than 1
000 people – was triggered by Cyclone Dineo flooding.
This is the second time cholera – which causes severe vomiting and
diarrhoea and is lethal, if not treated promptly – has struck Zimbabwe.
Around 2008-9, the disease claimed more than 4 000 lives while about 10
000 people were infected throughout the country.
Briefing the media yesterday, deputy Health minister Aldrin Musiiwa warned
that the cholera outbreak could be worsened by the flooding experience in
the affected areas.
“An outbreak of cholera was reported at Rupangwana Clinic in Chiredzi
District of Masvingo province on March 10, 2017 and at Chinyamukwakwa
Clinic in Chipinge District of Manicaland Province on the March 14 2017,”
Musiiwa said; “Chipinge district has been affected by the recent floods
and this particular area has been hard hit with communities failing to
access health facilities for treatment. Most people in the affected area
of Mabee have no access to safe drinking water due to these floods”.
He said the area where the cases have been reported is adjacent to the
Zimbabwe-Mozambique border where there is an influx of people.
Government has so far dispatched rapid response teams to the two provinces
to conduct assessments and curb the crisis.
“The cases are being managed at the two clinics in Chiredzi and Chipinge.
Medicines and other supplies are being moved to the affected flood
communities. My ministry with the help of World Health Organisation and
other partners is prepositioning diarrhoeal kits in the provinces each
capable of treating 500 diarrhoeal cases. Non-food items kits have also
been prepositioned; these include soap, water treatment tablets, buckets
and others,” Musiiwa said.
Health ministry secretary Gerald Gwinji added that just one case of
cholera constitutes an outbreak.
” . . . it’s all systems go once that happens, that includes the requisite
communication to the public,” he said.
The public advised to always use a toilet, treat all water, wash fruits
and veggies, avoid shaking hands, wash hands, cook food thoroughly and to
immediately report any symptoms to a nearby health facility.