Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Government has ordered the temporary suspension of lessons at Glen View 5 Primary School in Harare to pave way for the provision of adequate sanitation facilities. This followed reports that two pupils had died, while over 20 others received treatment for suspected cholera.
A visit by The Herald to the school, which is located in the cholera epicentre, showed that the school’s sewer system was in a bad state.
By end of day yesterday, the sewer system had not been attended to. Parents thronged the school yesterday demanding a test of borehole water at the institution.
There are fears borehole water in Glen View is contaminated.
“They must also test the borehole water, which could be another source of this outbreak,” said Mrs Jennifer Karonga, whose two children were complaining of headache and stomach pains.
“We already have one person who died of cholera in our street and several others are still receiving treatment from Nazareth (also known as Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital BRIDH). I am very worried with their condition,” said Mrs Karonga.
She said although the school and health authorities had earlier on screened children with suspected cholera symptoms, hers were only given oral rehydration solution (ORS) satchets, which they were asked to take home.
“They were given these satchets to make the rehydration solution from home, but as we speak, all taps are dry. There is no water,” said Mrs Karonga.
She said no water bowsers had been deployed in the area. Other parents who spoke on condition of anonymity, urged Government to ensure provision of safe and adequate water.
“All the boreholes that we were relying on have been condemned. The taps are dry and we do not have alternative water sources,” said the residents.
Speaking to journalists earlier on, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said lessons at Glen View 5 Primary School were suspended to enable restoration of proper sanitation facilities and clean water.
“We have decided that we will suspend classes while we bring in fresh water. If we do not suspend classes, pupils will continue drinking water from the same contaminated wells, making it difficult to contain the outbreak,” Dr Moyo said.
“It is inconvenient, but relevant to save lives,” he said.