Vasco Chaya 29 January 2018
HARARE – The number of cholera cases in Chegutu has risen to 73 from 18
recorded on January 19, this year.
A recent visit by the Daily News to the town last Friday, led by the
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, revealed that health officials have escalated
intervention efforts, with several organisations working day and night to
contain the outbreak.
Chegutu district administrator Tariro Tomu said: “The number of suspected
cholera cases is now 73, one is admitted while four died.”
“The situation is now under control. However, we still appeal to
well-wishers to continue assisting the Chegutu community in fighting
cholera,” he said, adding “the real source of cholera in Chegutu is not
yet established. Water wells here were tested and it was found out that
they were contaminated but not with cholera germs”.
On January 19, the number of suspected cholera cases was 18 and the first
case was that of an 80-year-old woman who died.
It was reported that three men subsequently died after getting in contact
with the woman’s body while preparing it for burial.
MP for Chegutu West Dexter Nduna told the Daily News recently: “So far one
person has died while new cases have been recorded. The victims are
currently admitted at Chegutu General Hospital.”
He said efforts were underway to contain the epidemic, with stakeholders
in the Health ministry converging in the Mashonaland West town to map the
“Players in the health sector, including from the United Nations
Children’s Fund, Red Cross as well as government departments are here and
a camp has been set up to fight the plague. We have agreed to meet twice a
day until the crisis ends,” Nduna said.
The lawmakers said investigations have established that the outbreak was
due to the prevailing shortage of portable water in the town, which forced
some residents to drill a hole into the main water pipeline, resulting in
sewer from a bust pipe flowing into it.
He said: “The major reason for the outbreak has been scarcity of piped
municipal water and dilapidated sewer pipes. Sewer has been trickling into
the main water pipeline which was vandalised by some residents. Burst
sewer pipes then discharged effluent into the water system which had been
perforated by residents seeking potable water”.
He added that unless the water situation was resolved, such outbreaks
would continue to happen.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or
water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholerae.