BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Harare City Council’s health services director, Prosper Chonzi has allayed fears of a cholera outbreak in Dzivarasekwa saying the watery diarrhoea experienced by many residents in the area was caused by drawing water from unprotected sources.
The cholera scare arose after a non-governmental organisation, Community Water Alliance sent enumerators to ward 39 in Dzivarasekwa to undertake parallel typhoid, diarrhoeal and cholera tabulations which results pointed that the majority of those affected had dysentery (diarrhoeal with blood).
The health committee then asked Chonzi whether there was a cholera outbreak in Dzivarasekwa as alleged by the residents.
“There was no cholera outbreak in Dzivarasekwa, but due to erratic water supplies residents resorted to drawing water from unprotected sources resulting in some residents suffering from watery diarrhoeal diseases,” he submitted.
Chonzi warned that as long as water supplies were not consistent, such cases would spread to other areas.
Community Water Alliance programmes manager Hardlife Mudzingwa said most of the affected residents in Dzivaresekwa were women and youth.
“We sent enumerators to ward 39 in Dzivarasekwa to undertake parallel diarrhoeal and cholera tabulations and the results we got from the assessment is that 71,81% of victims of typhoid are youths, 65,60% of the victims are women. Our findings demonstrate beyond doubt that in Dzivarasekwa young women comprise the majority of victims. A majority of those affected had dysentery,” Mudzingwa said.
He told NewsDay that a borehole along 11th Street Gunhill seems to be the main source of contamination of water in Dzivarasekwa.
However, Chonzi said the situation was under control and they had set up a rapid response team which is on standby in case of any outbreak.
He added that there was a team on the ground providing treatment as well as distributing some water treatment tablets and carrying out educational awareness campaigns.