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Kwekwe on high Cholera alert


KWEKWE –Kwekwe has been put on high alert for cholera following the death of an 18-year-old man
last weekend at its general hospital who presented signs of the disease.
Follow up rapid tests on the teenager’s 17-member family have come out negative but health
authorities have warned people in the district to practice good hygiene practices while they continue
to monitor the situation.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has put Midlands Province on high alert following a suspected
cholera death at Kwekwe General Hospital.

Midlands Provincial Medical Director Dr Mary Muchekeza said that a patient presented symptoms
consistent with cholera at Kwekwe General Hospital with a positive rapid diagnostic test and they
have since sent the patient's samples to Gweru laboratory for confirmation.
“So the whole province is now being put on high alert but we do not want people to panic because
we are still on top of it and we can remain on top of it if you do exactly as you are advised by the
health personnel on the ground.

“We understand the seriousness of the situation and we are committed to taking all the necessary
measures to contain the outbreak and protect the health of our community members. …we continue
to urge anyone who experiences any signs and symptoms that are consistent with Cholera like
diarrhoea, headache, dizziness and anything else that you are not sure of to approach the nearest
health facility or to report to the public health office,” said the PMD.

She said health care facilities within the district are being equipped to provide prompt treatment to
any suspected and confirmed cholera cases.

Dr Muchekeza added that the district team had enhanced its cholera surveillance systems to
promptly detect any new cases including reporting mechanisms and establishing communication
channels with health facilities to ensure timely information flow.

The team was also engaging community leaders, local authorities and the office of the Minister of
State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution and the public to raise awareness and participate in
preventive measures.

She said since Cholera is often transmitted through contaminated water sanitation, the Kwekwe
district response team is focusing on improving water and sanitation infrastructure which includes
repairing and maintaining water supply systems and promoting safe water storage practices and
increasing access to clean water sources.

“We are going to be doing awareness campaigns with soap, proper food handling techniques and
the importance of using safe drinking water. Our healthcare facilities within the district are being
equipped to provide prompt treatment to any suspected and confirmed Cholera cases.

“Our medical staff is receiving training on case management and essential medicines and supplies
are being made available to ensure effective care is rendered,”

Kwekwe District Development Coordinator Fortune Mupungu confirmed that the Health Ministry
officials were on high alert of a Cholera outbreak in the district and advised residents to maintain
high standards of hygiene.

“However, people should not panic but should redouble efforts on hygiene standards like washing
hands regularly before eating as it is the only guarantee for a cholera free area,” he said.
In a statement, Kwekwe City Council acting Health Director Precious Shumba confirmed the death of
the 18-year-old man from suspected Cholera.

“It is true that there’s an 18-year-old male who works in Chicago who presented at Kwekwe Hospital
yesterday (Saturday) morning at 10 am, with a history of severe headache and pain around the
umbilical region.

“He was admitted and later passed yellowish stool with mucus. They sent the specimen to the lab to
establish what could be causing the mucoid stool. A rapid diagnostic test to exclude cholera was also
done, which came out positive. Unfortunately, he passed away around 4:30 pm yesterday (Sunday),”
Shumba said.

The specimen was sent to Gweru for tests.

Kwekwe’s health department subsequently dispatched personnel to the deceased’s home to
conduct tests where 17 people had no signs and symptoms of cholera.

She said Kwekwe was however, on high cholera alert.

“Our team remains vigilant and prepared to respond to the scare. Meanwhile, the IDH is ready to
admit the first case of cholera,” said Shumba.

Meanwhile, cases of Cholera are rising throughout the country, having been reported in
Chitungwiza, Buhera, Harare, Mutare, Gutu, Zaka, Chipinge, Chegutu and Sanyati.

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