By Pretty Chavango
Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa says his ministry has been wrongly criticized over cholera outbreaks yet it’s caused by vendors and sewage that is constantly flowing in residential areas across the country.
Due to old age most pipes used for transporting sewage have been breaking resulting in sewage flowing in various areas posing risks to the residents especially children.
In some cases this flowing sewage finds itself mixing with treated water that will be gushing out through unrepaired broken pipes resulting in contamination.
Local authorities have been on a number of occasions failing to repair these broken pipes owing to lack of funds because they are not getting their 5 percent allocation from national budget and residents are not paying their bills consistently.
Addressing the media at a press conference Minister Parirenyatwa said it was irritating that his ministry is always blamed whenever there is a cholera outbreak yet people are engaging in unhygienic practices in the streets.
“There is rampant vending in undesignated places, including selling of meat and fruits in pavements.
“People buy and eat all these on the streets in unhygienic condition putting themselves at risk of cholera and diarrhoea diseases,” he said.
The current outbreak has seen about 32 suspected cases (19 males and 15 females) of cholera being recorded and of that number only two cases have been confirmed to be cholera.
Parirenyatwa said people should observe basic hygiene that includes washing hands before eating, washing hands after visiting toilets, washing nappies and also stop eating food prepared in unhygienic conditions.
According to the minister, all the suspected cases are linked to funerals that took place in Chegutu where they are currently facing critical shortage of water due to aged water reticulation infrastructure which requires urgent addressing.
“We think the index case was an 80-year-old female who succumbed to the disease at home on the 8th January 2018. Subsequently, people who attended this funeral and other subsequent funerals linked to the initial case fell sick and started presenting for treatment at the hospital.
“A cholera test that was done on 19th of January 2018 on one of the deceased confirmed it was cholera. Two other samples tested positive for cholera and were confirmed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has castigated government for wasting money on flying big delegations to international trips at the expense of service delivery.
“…The point we make is that the cholera outbreak at home can be combated by a more serious government which puts its people first. The money being invested on the big delegation full of non-core actors can be put to better use, in areas where two or three people can do the job a sane leadership must not over deploy.
“It is not only the cholera outbreak that is causing problems but also typhoid, yesterday in Kambuzuma new cases of the disease were detected.
“Our problem is that 38 years after independence, in the 21st century, we still have outbreaks of ancient Stone Age diseases resulting from poor service delivery,” said the PDP statement.
Meanwhile, people have been urged to drink only safe water which should have been boiled or treated with treatment chemicals and avoid big gatherings during outbreaks such as these ones.
In the event of death in the community due to cholera, Minister Parirenyatwa said this should be supervised by health workers and people should not shake hands at these gatherings.