By Edward Mukaro
ZIMBABWE’s health system has been put to the test, has been hit by a diarrhoea bout that has so far accounted for the death of 9 people so far from a recorded 1500cases, according to the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR).
The latest set back in the country comes at a time the country is fighting the deadly scourge COVID- 19, which has so far led to the loss of 6 lives from a recorded 570 cases so far.
The southern African nation’s health care system has been stretched and tested during trying time and found wanting.
This outbreak which has been recorded mainly in the country’s second city, Bulawayo, has been necessitated by the lack of availability of water, which has been in short supply and has seen residents relying on unsafe water sources.
“Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has noted in great concern the current diarrhoeal disease outbreak in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo.
“To date, over 1500 suspected cases and 9 deaths have been recorded. The diarrhoeal disease outbreak has largely been attributed to the serious water crisis facing the City of Bulawayo, particularly in Luveve and surrounding areas,” said the doctors’ body.
The association noted and applauded the relevant authorities namely, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and the City of Bulawayo for the swift response and putting in a place designated centers for children, adult screening, treating and resuscitation facilities and the activation of a rapid response team to conduct door to door search for diarheoa patients, but was quick to point out the need for authorities in all major cities to avail safe and clean water to citizens.
Long-term solutions have been deemed necessary to mitigate the unnecessary loss of life and suffering to citizens.
“As an urgent mitigatory measure, the municipality of Bulawayo must provide clean and safe water, through use of bowsers, drilling of boreholes in affected areas, and in other areas to respond to the growing crisis.
“Council must conduct awareness campaigns on water treatment methods for home use such as boiling water and use of home certified treatment chemicals.
“Further, council must urgently investigate and identify the pathological cause of the diarrhoea outbreak, so as to ensure a targeted response and quicker improved health outcomes.”
A recent survey on the right to access water by the Zimbabwe Peace Project early this month highlighted that most residents urban centers, Harare, Bulawayo, and Chegutu, respectively were receiving unsafe and unclean water from their municipalities, with Harare residents getting 76 percent of unclean and unsafe water followed by Bulawayo with 46% of unclean water.
The diarhoea outbreak adds more misery to a nation that is grappling to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
By Edward Mukaro