'Diarrhoea claims 12 children weekly'

HARARE - Children continue to die from diarrhoeal diseases, latest statistics from the ministry of Health and Child Care reveal.

According to the Weekly Disease Surveillance System (WDSS) statistics, diarrhoea cases reported in the week ending November 24, scaled to 11 224 cases and there were 12 deaths.

“Of the reported cases 5 464 (48,7 percent) and six deaths were from the under five years of age,” the commentary that accompanied the statistics read.

Dysentery alone accounted for 1 201 cases and five deaths, while cholera accounted for 11 cases.

The ministry last week revealed that at least 440 children under the age of five have died of diarrhoeal diseases this year.

This was a sharp increase from 265 diarrhoea related deaths and 428 000 cases of the disease recorded last year.

David Parirenyatwa, the Health minister, 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.

The statistics further showed there were maternal deaths during the week under scrutiny.

At least 2 699 malaria cases were recorded but there were no deaths reported in the week under review.

Five new suspected cases of measles were also reported.

Cases of women dying while giving birth continue to rise with 11 cases of maternal deaths recorded during week 47.

Statistics show that Mashonaland East lost more mothers than the other nine provinces with three deaths.

Deducing from the report, at least 13 women are dying on a monthly basis since September, when maternal statistics were added to the surveillance list.

The latest Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (2010-2011) says 960 women die while giving birth for every 100 000 live births.

The high rates are linked to the country’s levels of HIV infection. HIV is now the leading contributor to maternal deaths.

Government has come up with a cocktail of measures among them campaigns aimed at encouraging women to deliver in hospitals as well as initiating all HIV positive mothers on ART regardless of their CD4 count.

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