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Diarrhoea Hits Harare Suburbs

  • Thomas Chiripasi

An outbreak of diarrhoea has hit some of Harare’s western suburbs amid concern that the local authority is failing to provide adequate water in those suburbs.

Reports indicate that several cases of diarrhea, especially among children, have been recorded in the city’s middle density suburbs such as Mabelreign, Ashdown Park and Westlea.

Residents of these areas say they now fear that the outbreak may not be contained due to lack of hygiene.

Studio 7 this morning visited the council-run Mabelreign Satellite Clinic and saw several children in queues waiting to be treated. Some of them were vomiting in the queues while others were crying.

A three year-old infant who was identified by her mother as Thelma Sawopa tells Studio 7 that she was in pain.

Her mother Hilda Sawopa, said two of her children were affected by the disease resulting in her eldest son failing to go to school on Thursday.

She claimed that the diarrhoea outbreak was being caused by the city council’s failure to provide water to ratepayers. She said her water tape has been dry for more than a week now.

Some nurses at Mabelreign Satellite Clinic who refused to speak on tape, citing professional reasons, said they have attended to more than 100 diarrhoea cases among children since Monday this week.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Health Minister David Parirenyatwa while the ministry’s director of Disease Control and Epidemiology, Portia Manangazira, referred questions to her deputy, a Doctor Phiri, saying she could not comment because she was travelling.

Phiri referred questions to Harare City Council’s Prosper Chonzi, who is the director Health Services Management.

Although Studio 7 failed to get government comment, a report released by the health ministry shows that 9,958 diarrhoea cases were reported countrywide in the week ending May 11, 2014. The report says 6 deaths were recorded.

Meanwhile, Harare mayor Benard Manyenyeni says city fathers are failing to deal with Harare’s perennial water problems because of the shortage of money to buy water treatment chemicals.

According to Manyenyeni, water problems will persist if ratepayers do not pay their bills.

In 2008, thousands of people died due to a cholera outbreak blamed on poor hygiene and serious water shortages in several communities countrywide.