THE Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has raised a red flag over a serious diarrhoea outbreak in Zimbabwe’s second capital city, Bulawayo, which has so far killed nine people, with over 1 500 cases recorded.
The association said it was concerned that the out break is coming at a time world is facing another outbreak.
“The outbreak compounds an already existing public health crisis posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the ZAHDR said.
The BCC together with the Ministry of Health have since adopted the outbreak containment measures in responding to the crisis through the setting up of four treatment centres specifically for children, adult screening, and treatment and resuscitation facilities.
The outbreak was induced by the failure of council to deliver water to Bulawayo’s residential and the council is currently looking for ways to increase raw water supplies to the city through pumping water from dams that surround the city.
ZADHR said there was a need for the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to treat the matter with the urgency it deserves by delivering safe water using bowsers and also drilling of boreholes in all the affected areas.
The association however said the BCC should put in place lasting solutions to the problem being faced by the city.
“There is need for a combination of immediate, short and long-term responses to the water crisis in all urban centres across Zimbabwe to mitigate unnecessary morbidity and mortality from water borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera and other forms of infectious diseases,” the Association said.
The ZADHR stated that Bulawayo should come up with mitigatory measures to provide clean and safe water through use of bowsers, drilling of boreholes in affected areas and other areas to respond to the growing crisis.
The Association further said council should conduct awareness campaigns on water treatment methods for home use such as boiling the water and use of home certified treatment chemicals.
“For a more sustained response, ZADHR calls the government to expedite completion of the Matebeleland Zambezi Water Project so as to address the perennial water challenges in Bulawayo and the Matebeleland Region,” ZADHR said in a statement.
Urban areas in Zimbabwe have been facing serious outbreaks of waterborne diseases that emanate from poor service delivery by local authorities.
In 2008, a cholera outbreak in Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare left close to 4 500 people dead, while more than 3 000 cases of Typhoid have been reported since 2011.