ChiTown’s poor sanitation fuelling cholera outbreak

The outbreak began on September 24, 2023, in Unit D, Seke South district, linked to a funeral in Buhera, Manicaland.

POOR sanitation facilities and consumption of water from shallow and unprotected wells is fuelling the cholera outbreak in Chitungwiza, the city’s health department has said.

Chitungwiza has recorded 1 537 cases of cholera with the outbreak spreading fast in Zimbabwe without visible solutions to stop the spread of the waterborne disease.The outbreak began on September 24, 2023, in Unit D, Seke South district, linked to a funeral in Buhera, Manicaland.

“New cases began on October 17, 2023, and a cholera treatment centre was established on October 20.

“As of January 22, 2024, there are 1 537 listed cases, 51 confirmed cases, 1 499 recoveries, five confirmed deaths, and 25 suspected deaths,” a report from the Chitungwiza Municipality last week said.

It further indicated that an epidemiological analysis had revealed that over-crowding, inadequate sanitation and hygiene and the consumption of water from shallow wells were all direct causes.

“Consumption of contaminated water from shallow wells inadequate potable water, poor sanitation and hygiene, and overcrowding are the key drivers,” the municipality said.According to the report, the first case was of a 38-year-old female from Seke South district who was admitted to Chitungwiza Central Hospital Annex Ward on her return from a relative’s funeral.

Investigations further revealed that poor food hygiene and water from unprotected sources consumed at the funeral led to her exhibiting cholera symptoms.The report further indicated that the woman developed symptoms on September 24 last year.

“The deceased relative had died of diarrhoea suggestive of cholera. Investigations revealed that food hygiene principles were not strictly observed and water was from an unprotected source at the funeral,” read the report.

The Chitungwiza Municipality risk communication and community engagement project has reached out to 281 289 people through door-to-door mobile awareness, roadshows, health education, information, education and communication materials and hygiene education.

Case-area targeted intervention approaches were implemented, with 21 062 learners and 460 education staff reached.Drama sessions, risk assessments, radio sessions were held and 33 school health co-ordinators were trained.

Zimbabwe recorded the first cholera outbreak in Chegutu, Mashonaland West in February last year.

To date suspected and confirmed cases have been reported in 57 districts in all the country’s 10 provinces.As of January 24, 2024, Zimbabwe had 20 446 cholera cases and 452 deaths with a case fatality rate of 2,2% since the outbreak in February last year.

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