NGO joins Gweru’s typhoid fight

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Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe

By Brenna Matendere

GERMANY-BASED non-governmental organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) has donated water testing kits to Gweru City Council and pledged to drill boreholes in areas that were affected by the deadly typhoid disease in 2008.

WHH said the move was aimed at arresting another possible outbreak of the deadly waterborne disease like cholera which wreaked havoc in 2008, killing over 5 000 people countrywide.

Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe revealed WHH’s intervention during Tuesday’s state of the city address at Town House.

“We received Wagteck field water testing kits from Welt Hunger Hilfe, that we are now using to test water in areas where there could be fears of typhoid. Using the kits, we are getting instant results and the WHH also pledged to drill boreholes in Mkoba ,where there was a typhoid outbreak in 2018,” he said.

“We have since started to sink the boreholes. Of note is the fact that the NGO also pledged to drill more boreholes even in areas which were not affected by typhoid, but are densely populated, such as Senga, where majority of students from Midlands State University reside.”

Makombe revealed that results of samples collected from 19 people in Mkoba after a typhoid scare in the area were yet to be released by the Health ministry.

This was after two people died in Mkoba after showing signs of typhoid on February 25.

“The rapid response team carried out both epidemiological and environmental investigations. The rapid response team collected stool specimen from 19 residents who are family members and contacts of the deceased. Some of the contacts complained of diarrhoeal diseases for over a week, but had not sought any medical attention citing high user fee costs. We have referred all the contacts to Mkoba Polyclinic for free treatment,” Makombe said.

“As part of the investigations, the team also collected three water samples for bacteriological analysis to ascertain the portability standards of the drinking water. This was done in order to establish if there was any point of source contamination of the water supply since the cases and deaths were confined to a linear distribution.

“Our drinking water is of satisfactory standards as evidenced by the bacteriological water quality analysis done on a monthly basis. The tests were done by the government analysts from the Ministry of Health.”