Bulawayo has raised alarm over a diarrhea outbreak in the city’s Pumula North suburb with over 200 people having been treated to date.
The outbreak has forced City of Harare to exempt residents from the ongoing water shedding.
Confirming the outbreak, the Bulawayo city’s Corporate Communications Manager, Nesisa Mpofu said about 132 people have been treated of diarrhea.
“There was a reported diarrhea outbreak in Pumula, so far about 132 people claim to have been affected and many have recovered, 20 were seen at the clinic today and we have put a waiver on fees temporarily,” she said.
Pumula North councilor Sikhululekile Moyo confirmed that residents in his area have been complaining of stomach pains, a situation that forced them to deploy nurses to move door to door to check on the affected.
“Yes, there is a problem because residents were crying of stomach pains and I referred this to the attention of the council, and nurses were deployed to go door to door checking for the affected. We are still encouraging people to come forward and go to the clinic if they feel unwell,” said Moyo.
“The residents started complaining on Friday heading into Saturday unfortunately by the time we were alerted the clinic had closed and some could not receive immediate attention. But on Monday, the nurses started attending to cases while some went to the affected areas in Pumula known as Emaphayiphini, houses by the shops and after the main tar road by ZAOGA church,” added Moyo.
He added that they suspect water contamination to have been the cause of the diarrhea outbreak since the council started water shedding.
“The city council is still analyzing to see what could have caused the outbreak but I suspect that since we have started water-shedding, the water came back dirty after it was switched back on,” she said.
“I also think that residents also forgot to boil the water first or let it run until the dirty water ran out before consuming it since the city had stayed for some time without having the water-shedding exercise.”
Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Councilor Mlandu Ncube said as part of interventions to arrest the spread of diarrhea, Ward 17 has been exempted from water shedding.
“We deployed our medical staff to offer free treatment there in Pumula. And we encourage every resident in that area to go to the clinic if they feel sick. We have flushed the system and for now, we aren’t shedding Ward 17 to try and arrest the situation,” said Ncube.
Last year, Bulawayo recorded a diarrhea outbreak in Tshabalala Extension and Emganwini suburbs.
The city’s worst outbreak in recent years was reported in June 2020, when 13 people died after nearly 2 000 residents fell ill in Luveve after raw sewage-contaminated drinking water.