Diarrhoea, malaria claim 400 lives

Sharon Buwerimwe

DIARRHOEA and malaria are wreaking havoc in Zimbabwe, with more than 400 people dying from the diseases in the past few months, government figures show.

The outbreak of diarrhoea has been attributed to poor sanitation and inadequate access to clean water, while failure to disinfect water sources and people failing to seek medical treatment early have been blamed for increasing malaria cases.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s weekly disease surveillance report released last week, 208 people have died from diarrhoea and 8 873 new cases have been recorded.

“Eight thousand eight hundred and seventy three common diarrhoea cases and six deaths were reported this week (last week). The deaths were reported from Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (1) in Harare Province and United Bulawayo Hospital (1) in Bulawayo Province,” read the report.

The cumulative figure for diarrhoea now stands at 275 385 cases.

“Of the reported cases, 3 863 (43,5%) were from the under five years of age. The provinces that reported the highest number of cases were Mashonaland East province (1 632) and Manicaland province (1 386). The cumulative figures for common diarrhoea are 275 385 cases and 208 deaths,” it said.

The Health ministry also recorded six suspected cases of typhoid in Harare and Sanyati in Mashonaland West province.

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The cumulative figure for suspected typhoid cases now stands at 619 and five deaths.

Meanwhile, the ministry also recorded a surge in malaria cases, with 242 people dying from the disease and 1 087 new cases. At least 1 087 malaria cases and two deaths were reported this week. The deaths were reported from Murewa District (1) in Mashonaland East province, Nyanga District (1) in Manicaland Province.

Of the reported cases, 140 (12,9%) were from the under five years of age. The provinces that reported the highest number of cases were Mashonaland East Province (319) and Mashonaland Central Province (313).

The cumulative figures for malaria cases now stand at 149 699.

Last week, Zimbabwe recorded 108 suspected cholera deaths and 5 030 new cases.

According to the ministry’s latest situational report, 41 districts across the country have reported the outbreak with Buhera and Gutu emerging as hotspots.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the persisting outbreak of the diseases has exposed the country’s poor health delivery system.

“These repetitive outbreaks of preventable diseases indicate that we are failing to learn as a country. The persisting and recurrent outbreaks of waterborne diseases give a poor reflection of the health and development status of the country,” Rusike said, adding that there was need to tackle the diseases at community level by dealing with the fundamental public health issues and causes surrounding the continuous outbreaks. – Newsday

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