Cholera case in Beit­bridge

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent

A CASE of cholera has been re­ported in Beit­bridge dis­trict in Mata­bele­land South Prov­ince with health of­fi­cials from the area say­ing mea­sures are be­ing put in place to con­tain it.

Mata­bele­land South Pro­vin­cial Med­i­cal Di­rec­tor, Dr Chido Chikod­zore con­firmed the case which was recorded on Wed­nes­day evening at the Beit­bridge Dis­trict Hos­pi­tal dur­ing a Pro­vin­cial De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee meet­ing that was held in Gwanda on Thurs­day.

She said the pa­tient was in a sta­ble con­di­tion and a team had been de­ployed to trace the source of the dis­ease in or­der to con­tain it. Dr Chikod­zore said cases of di­ar­rhoea had also re­cently in­creased es­pe­cially in Gwanda and Beit­bridge.

“We recorded a case of cholera in Beit­bridge last night (Wed­nes­day) at 9pm. A rapid di­ag­nos­tic test came out pos­i­tive and we are now await­ing lab­o­ra­tory re­sults. The pa­tient is sta­ble and staff at the hos­pi­tal are mon­i­tor­ing his con­di­tion.

“The pa­tient is from Cha­fushe area which is about 25 kilo­me­tres from Beit­bridge Town along the Masvingo-Beit­bridge High­way and he fell ill while work­ing at an irrigation site. A dis­trict team has al­ready gone on the ground to in­ves­ti­gate the source of the dis­ease and con­tain the sit­u­a­tion so that we don’t record more cases and to­mor­row as a pro­vin­cial health ex­ec­u­tive team we will also go on the ground to as­sist,” she said.

Dr Chikod­zore said the prov­ince had recorded cases of con­tam­i­nated bore­hole wa­ter and they were un­der con­trol as ef­forts had been made to treat the wa­ter. She said fol­low­ing the out­break of cholera in Harare the prov­ince had strength­ened its sur­veil­lance sys­tem and put in place mea­sures to deal with an out­break in case it was recorded.

“Fol­low­ing re­ports of a cholera out­break in Harare we no­ti­fied all our dis­tricts to ac­ti­vate their Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Re­sponse plans. On Sat­ur­day the pro­vin­cial health ex­ec­u­tive vis­ited var­i­ous health fa­cil­i­ties to check on their pre­pared­ness. We then mo­bilised re­sources, set up cholera treat­ment cen­tres and pre­pared our labs. We are get­ting daily sit­u­a­tional anal­y­sis re­ports from all dis­tricts and we are on the look­out for any other cholera cases. We also strength­ened our sur­veil­lance sys­tem which showed that di­ar­rhoea cases were on the in­crease with over 200 recorded in the prov­ince in the past week and in Gwanda and Beit­bridge they were above the thresh­old,” she said.

Dr Chikod­zore said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing di­ar­rhoeal dis­eases on a weekly ba­sis to en­sure none were cholera re­lated. She said they had also height­ened sur­veil­lance of wa­ter sources. She said var­i­ous ports of en­try in the prov­ince had also been as­sessed.

Pro­vin­cial heads of de­part­ments that at­tended the meet­ing ap­pealed with the Min­istry of Health and Child Care to ban trans­porta­tion of fruits from red zone ar­eas to ar­eas that had not recorded cholera cases in or­der to stop the dis­ease from spread­ing.

Also speak­ing dur­ing the meet­ing, Mata­bele­land South Pro­vin­cial Dis­trict Ad­min­is­tra­tor, Ms Sithandiwe Ncube urged var­i­ous stake­hold­ers to em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing hy­giene in com­mu­ni­ties. In an in­ter­view af­ter the meet­ing Mata­bele­land South Pro­vin­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Di­rec­tor (PED) Mr Li­fias Ma­sukume said they had in­formed school heads to sus­pend ed­u­ca­tional trips to other ar­eas. About 32 cholera deaths have been con­firmed while close to 7 000 cases have been recorded.

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