Nine have died of diarrhoea in Bulawayo – doctors group

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By Alois Vinga

A DOCTORS group has revealed some nine people have succumbed to suspected diarrhoea in Bulawayo following an outbreak which has seen several cases being reported in the last few weeks.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said the disease was slowly taking its toll beyond adequate public attention.

“To date, over 1 500 suspected cases and 9 deaths have been recorded,” said ZADHR.

“The diarrhoeal disease outbreak has largely been attributed to the serious water crisis facing the City of Bulawayo, particularly in Luveve and surrounding areas.”

The doctors group said the outbreak compounds an already existing public health crisis posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

ZADHR said while measures have been taken to mitigate the crisis in the country’s second largest city, through setting up of treatment centres for children, adult screening and treatment among others, there was still need to do more to avoid the recurrence of similar cases in future.

“There is need for a combination of immediate short and long term responses to the waste crises in all the urban centers across Zimbabwe to mitigate unnecessary morbidity and mortality from water borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera and other forms of infectious diseases,” ZADHR  said.

The doctors group urged authorities to put in place mechanisms which address the problem of contaminated water in the city.

ZADHR said as an urgent mitigatory measure, the municipality of Bulawayo must provide clean and safe water through the use of bowsers in affected areas and in other parts to respond to the growing crisis.

They also suggest council must conduct awareness campaigns on water treatment methods for home use such as boiling water and use of home certified treatment chemicals.

“Further, the council must investigate and identify the pathological cause of diarrhoea outbreak so as to ensure a targeted response and quicker improved health outcomes.

“Government needs to expedite the completion of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project so as to address the perennial water challenges in Bulawayo and Matabeleland Region,” ZADHR added.