Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has set up a high-level technical committee to investigate the outbreak of diarrhoea in Bulawayo’s Luveve suburb and seconded army doctors to assist the City Council in treating patients.
The committee is led by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
Nine people have succumbed to diarrhoea in Luveve suburb while nearly 1 000 patients have been treated.
The council is conducting door to door campaigns to identify patients and is also providing free treatment to diarrhoea patients.
Ambulances are ferrying critically ill patients to Mpilo Central Hospital free of charge.
The local authority said it has confirmed that the people from Luveve were suffering gastrointestinal disease and is working towards establishing the cause.
Residents have blamed the diarrhoea outbreak on the city’s water.
Council is conducting tests on its water and independent tests are being done by the National University of Science and Technology and Cimas laboratory.
Residents affected by diarrhoea are now being tested for Covid-19.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo on Friday said Government was satisfied with council’s prompt reaction to the diarrhoea outbreak.
He said Government has deployed army doctors to assist council in dealing with the diarrhoea outbreak.
“What we want them to do is to continue with the health surveillance and we are appealing to the people to come forward so that they can be treated. We are also fully aware that some of the patients might not be able to come to the clinics to seek treatment hence this door to door exercise. The city’s health department is now working with Provincial Medical Officer and other agencies such as those seconded from the army.
They are following up patients at their homes to offer treatment on the spot,” he said.
Minister Moyo said a provincial taskforce has also been set up to identify the source of the diarrhoea outbreak.
“The Minister of State (for Provincial Affairs Cde Judith Ncube) working with the acting Provincial Development Coordinator (Mrs Khonzani Ncube) has set up a team composed of all technical departments led by EMA composed of civil engineers, health environmentalists as well as defence and security people who are also technical to conduct thorough investigations to establish the source of this outbreak,” said Minister Moyo.
He said there were allegations that water could have been contaminated as a result of burst water and sewer pipes.
Minister Moyo said others suspected that the source could be vegetables being watered by water contaminated with raw sewer.
“There is a contractor on site and that contractor caused burst pipes in six places which have been attended to do. There are also 39 other areas that experienced burst pipes. All these technical issues should be analysed so that we get to the bottom of what really caused the diarrhoea oubreak,” said Minister Moyo.
Council which took water sample more than two weeks ago for testing, is yet to release the results. — @nqotshili