Government working on measures to contain cholera outbreaks
The Government has reported a new cholera outbreak in Buhera District in Manicaland Province, resulting in 12 deaths out of 152 confirmed cases over the past month, Health and Child Care Minister Douglas Mombeshora said on Tuesday.
Government has adopted several measures to contain the outbreak that has affected some parts of Buhera district, Manicaland Province.
This comes after the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the disease had killed a handful of people in the area.
The cholera outbreak started at a church shrine where a spiritual healing session was being held and the concerned church does not encourage its followers to seek medical attention.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, said Cabinet received a report from Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora on the outbreak of cholera in Buhera district with effect from 26 August 2023.
“The Minister of Health also presented a report on preventive measures with respect to reported cases of cholera in Buhera.
Cabinet would like to inform the nation that the Government has instituted a number of measures to contain the reported Buhera incidents such as mobilising equipment for borehole drilling, advocacy and activation of the District Civil Protection Unit.The Nation will be kept abreast of developments on the matter,” said Minister Muswere.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the country has recorded 4,160 suspected cholera cases, with 20 confirmed deaths and 94 suspected deaths since February this year.
Responding to media inquiries on the extent of the cholera outbreak, Minister Mombeshora said the Government was now on top of the situation in terms of mitigating the effects.
He said the number of new cases was falling, meaning that measures initiated were bearing fruit.
“The outbreak has been going on for about a month since around the 26th of August 2023. The cumulative figure is that we had 152 cases, and unfortunately, we also had 12 deaths. That is why we are so worried, and we would want to warn the public about the responses.
“Yesterday we had about 22 new cases, the figures are now coming down, there were times we had about 40 or so new cases but now we believe the measures that we have put in place are beginning to bear fruit,” said Minister Mombeshora.
“The most affected area is Murambinda Growth Point, and we have identified reasons why we have new cases in Buhera so much more than any other places. Yes, we might have one or two cases that we have picked up in neighbouring Hwedza district, but they trace back to Buhera because two patients we picked in Mashonaland East province had attended same funeral in Buhera.”
He said they had since activated health personnel such as village health workers and environmental health technicians to engage communities.
“Let me say cholera is a preventable disease, but if not handled properly can lead to loss of life, so it is diarrhoeal disease. Anyone with diarrhoeal disease must report to health centres for further management.
“We have also realised that the epicentre was a shrine doing spiritual healing and we are now educating people to say you must seek medical attention, we are engaging church leaders to encourage their followers to go to hospitals,” said Minister Mombeshora.
He said they were working with other Government agencies to ensure that gatherings and unauthorised vending were discouraged in and around Murambinda Growth Point.
“We are also consulting with schools to ensure that children are educated not to play around with dirty water. We have also seen that there are vendors, especially unregistered vendors, we are talking to the Ministry of Local Government to ensure that these vendors are removed from the streets of Murambinda.
“We are also educating the people not to use river water. There is also a river that flows through ward seven and we have realised that villagers around that river have contracted the disease more than those that are further away,” Minister Mombeshora said.
The nation is being informed that the Government is fully committed to resolving the Harare water challenges and that of all cities, rural and urban centres. The Government, through the Presidential Rural Development Programme, has drilled 301 boreholes in the past year.