Province battles water-borne diseases


Fortunate Gora Mash West Correspondent.
MASHONALAND West Province continues to battle water-borne diseases, with several typhoid cases being recorded in 2017, in a development largely attributed to poor service delivery by local authorities.

While several milestones were achieved in terms of health service delivery in 2017 in the province, outbreaks of typhoid remained a major cause for concern.

Outbreaks were reported in three of the seven districts in the province – Zvimba, Hurungwe and Sanyati.

About 110 typhoid-related cases were recorded in Zvimba and at Federation Compound near Dzivarasekwa.

At least 11 cases were confirmed positive from 21 samples sent to the National Reference Laboratory.

Lack of access to clean drinking water was blamed for the outbreak where people were drawing water from shallow wells dug close to latrines.

People in the affected areas are bearing the brunt of a blame between Zvimba Rural District Council and the developer of the Federation Compound co-operative.

Another outbreak was reported in Sanyati District at Chakari Compound, where 200 people were admitted in hospital due to suspected typhoid blamed on poor living conditions.

At least two people died in the suspected outbreak.

As a result of the crowded conditions, at least six teachers are sharing a house with their headmaster at Chikari Primary School.

In Hurungwe District, 100 cases of suspected typhoid were recorded in two villages, with 11 pupils from both Bhashungwe primary and secondary schools being affected.

This saw Government mobilising more drugs for the Chidamoyo community to ensure the affected got free treatment.

The situation was later contained.

With the prevalence of water-borne diseases, there are now fears of a cholera outbreak.

The failure by local authorities to provide services was also highlighted at Mapinga Business Centre where levels of pollution have reached alarming levels.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) recently raised the red flag after cases of illegal dumping and open defecation were established.

The absence of a waste management system has left the place heavily littered and this is a threat to the achievement of a clean, safe and healthy environment for all.

Mapinga is a hotspot for truckers, who park overnight and as a result attracts hordes of prostitutes from Harare, Chinhoyi, Banket, Mutorashanga and Raffingora.

There are limited ablution facilities, which are failing to cope with the high number of people, resulting in most of them relieving themselves in the open.

As a result human waste, litter and used tissue paper could be seen strewn around the business centre.

The decommissioned mining town of Mhangura had its fair share of service provision-related challenges which have spawned health threats.

A health disaster is looming at Chebanga and Damba settlements, where communal toilets broke down a long time, ago resulting in residents using the deplorable toilets.

The district environmental health technician, Mr Edwin Mumiriki raised the red flag against Makonde rural district council, saying the situation was inviting water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery and cholera.

Efforts were eventually made by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to address the challenge.

Away from the poor service delivery by local authorities, some health centres experienced a critical shortage of staff, including at St Padre Pio Polyclinic in Norton, which is operating with only 10 staff members out of 41 that are required.

The clinic has a catchment population of about 21 000 people.

Ironically, 106 nurses and midwives graduated with diplomas in general nursing and midwifery at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital 17th graduation this year.

These included 58 general nurses and 48 midwives, who underwent three years of training and an additional year for midwifery training.

Several groups achieved 100 percent pass rate and one group only achieved 55 percent.

A major milestone in the province saw all health centres in the province managing to dispense antiretroviral drugs.

In 2017, the province also managed to drastically reduce the number of sexually transmitted infections (STI).

STI cases dropped to seven percent in 2017 from 33 percent in 2016.

The province also managed to successfully hold the mass drug administration programme to prevent and control bilharzia and worms, which targeted more than 500 000 children.

Members of the apostolic sects responded positively to the programme.

There was also another pilot programme to prevent and control Lymphatic Filariasis, commonly known as Elephantiasis.

Lymphtic Filarisis is the second leading cause of permanent and long-term disability in developing countries.

In the spirit of Public-Private Partnerships, platinum giants Zimplats came to the rescue of Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital by donating $90 000 to upgrade and equip the hospital’s dental and laundry depart- ments.

Mashonaland West Province is one of the provinces heavily burdened by malaria and trends show that more cases are now being recorded in tobacco farming areas.

The farmers have been storing the “golden leaf” in their houses, which attracts mosquitoes.

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