Diarrhoea kills 440 children

HARARE - At least 440 children under the age of five have died of diarrhoeal diseases this year, the minister of Health and Child Care has said.

David Parirenyatwa said the country has been experiencing an increased number of diarrhoea cases in recent years.

“These cases are more prevalent in children aged five years and below and are a major cause of deaths in that age group,” the minister told journalists on Tuesday at his offices in Harare.

“This year alone, over 48 000 cases and 440 deaths from common diarrhoea have been reported countrywide. The deaths reported have happened in health facilities with diarrhoea as the cause of death.

“Dysentery has accounted to date 40 756 cases and 59 deaths while typhoid cases reported in 2013 were 1 475.”

Parirenyatwa said his ministry receives between 8 000 and 15 000 diarrhoea cases per week.

“While most cases are emanating from the rural provinces, the cities and towns have also contributed significant cases with Harare, Chitungwiza and Kadoma reporting outbreaks of typhoid and dysentery in early 2013,” he said.

A cholera pandemic claimed more than 4 000 lives five years ago.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently warned in a reported entitled: “Troubled Water: Burst Pipes, Contaminated Wells, and Open Defecation in Zimbabwe’s Capital” that Zimbabwe’s capital was at risk of another cholera outbreak."

HRW said that 70 percent of rural households in Zimbabwe do not have proper sanitation facilities and 40 percent defecate in the open.

Dewa Mavhinga, HRW’s senior researcher, said government’s failure to avail potable water, proper sanitation or safe alternatives has driven the public into using contaminated sources of water and defecating in open spaces.

Parirenyatwa said government was anticipating an increase in cases of diarrhoeal diseases during the rainy season and has prepared a cocktail of remedies to mitigate the outbreak if it occurs.

Among the remedies is the setting up of a National Emergency Preparedness Centre which will be housed at the ministry offices. There will be provincial offices throughout the country.

Health workers in Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response (IDSR) in Chitungwiza, Kadoma and Harare are set to undergo training.

The ministry of Health will also work in conjecture with the ministries of Water and that of Local Government to improve safe water provision, hygiene and sanitation, the minister said.

“There will be a rotavirus vaccination launch in January as we try and reduce the threat of the diarrhoea,” Parirenyatwa said.

Comments (9)

It is not even surprising that diarrhoeal diseases are killing the country's future leaders, given the pathetic water and sanitation situation especially in our urban settings. Imagine Waterfalls (Picnic Park) has gone for a month now with dry taps. This is gross violation of people's fundamental right.

John - 27 November 2013

Resignai vakomana kana zvaramba its not a crime to do so. asi chii nhai dhokota.

Neshangwe we Njanja - 27 November 2013

Given this is the 21st century, I think we should run into holes and hide with SHAME..

gutter poet - 27 November 2013

You are lucky you've been out for a month. We've been out for 3 years now!

Johno - 27 November 2013

thats exactly what the people voted for,,if they did not then why the silence,,long live mugabe, long live zanu pf,,sort them out please until they are brave enough to turn against you

stobbs - 27 November 2013

How can a medical doctor, who has been minister of health for this long, surely admit something like this, and not be bothered by it. Dysentery and typhoid, killing that many children in this age? Why do these people find it easy to just say stuff like this. The other day the same minister said he was "shocked" by the appauling state of Mpilo hospital. One of the central and referral hospitals in the country and yet the minister has no clue what been going on there for years till he gets shocked by the deterioration. what is he doing and why is he still minister of health

tino - 27 November 2013

This in a country with numerous natural and human resources? How much does it cost to treat or better still, prevent diarrhoea as compared with the cost of buying luxury motors for top government officials? How much does it cost to fly a certain family who believe they own Zimbabwe to Singapore or Hong Kong whenever they wish? Priorities, comrades, priorities!

Mahumbwe - 27 November 2013

The major cause being zvima illegal structures zvinongumuka pese pese and when the authorities want to demolish them, a lot of idiots cry foul. SAKA LET THEM DIE.

reason - 28 November 2013

Demolish all illegal structure s. sometimes it'you have to be cruel to save lives,

Manje solo - 28 November 2013

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