Health

Gweru records increase in cholera cases

MARTIN MAWAYA

GWERU-As the cholera pandemic wrecks havoc in the country, City of Gweru has not been spared as it recorded 17 cases as on the 6th of February 2024.

The current figures shows significant increase in number of cases as compared to those reported  by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (Midlands Cholera Situation report) of January 21 where 9 cases were recorded.

Addressing the 703th Ordinary council meeting yesterday, Gweru Mayor, councilor Martin Chivhoko revealed that out of the 17 cases, 13 were from Gweru district, while 4 were from outside the district.

Chivhoko added that 9 males and 8 females were affected by the water borne disease.

He said most of the cases in Gweru have been recorded in the new residential areas where there is no portable municipal water and sewerage reticulation facilities.

“It is rather sad that some residents get their drinking water from shallow wells and practice open defecation, which is highly risky in terms of personal and environmental hygiene,” added Mayor Chivhoko.

The mayor emphasized the importance of practicing good hygiene and seeking early medical attention to prevent complications and the further spread of the highly contagious disease.

However, the water shortage in the city could exacerbate the cholera outbreak, as the local authority has implemented a stringent water rationing schedule due to persistent breakdowns at the Gwenhoro pumping station, resulting in reduced water supply.

Gweru requires 120 megalitres of water per day, but currently, only 37 megalitres are being pumped, down from 45 megalitres in December, due to the breakdown of the Gwenhoro low lift pump.

Repairs at the pump station are expected to be completed at the end of February.

Furthermore, the local authority has since designated the Infectious Diseases Hospital as the cholera treatment center, with all health facilities serving as cholera treatment units.

Chivhoko also assured residents that if the number of cases exceeds a certain threshold, oral rehydration points will be established in shopping centers and schools to provide immediate assistance.

According to the Health Services Director, Samson Sekenhamo, the local authority has already reached out to land developers, urging them to provide proper water infrastructure to mitigate the spread of cholera in residential areas.

The areas include Charlton Park where most people rely on contaminated water sources such as wells.

Gweru experienced a cholera outbreak in 2018, which claimed the lives of 11 residents, hence authorities are working to contain the current outbreak.

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