The government has directed that all deaths in the community be reported to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, which will deploy staff to supervise funerals of deaths linked to diarrhea causes amid calls for members of the public to limit food intake during such gatherings.

This is part of the comprehensive measures adopted by the government to curb the spread of cholera, which has recently become a threat to life across the country and in the region.

So far, 71 confirmed and 336 suspected deaths due to cholera have been recorded across the country, with a sharp increase in new cases over the past few days.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by bacteria that occurs when a person consumes food and water contaminated with cholera bacteria.

The water-borne disease causes severe dehydration and diarrhea and can lead to death. The disease affects children and adults alike, and can lead to death within hours if not treated.

According to health experts, most people infected with cholera do not show any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their stool for 1-10 days after infection and return to the environment, potentially infecting other people.

Official reports showed that 242 new suspected cases of cholera were recorded in Zimbabwe, and 28 confirmed cases, on Wednesday, and reports indicate that a total of 321 cases are so far in hospital, official reports showed.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said funerals have been cited as a means of spreading the water-borne disease, which was first recorded in Chigoto town, Mashonaland West province. So far, suspected and confirmed cases have been reported in 60 counties in all 10 provinces of the country since the beginning of 2024.

The outbreak has now spread to more than 17 traditional cholera hotspots in Buhera, Chigutu, Chikumba, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chitungwiza, Chiredzi, Harare, Gokwe North, Marondera, Mazowe, Shamva, Mutare, Murehwa, Mwenezi, Siki and Wedza. .

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care has recognized that funeral gatherings act as major spreaders of cholera in Zimbabwe,” the ministry said.

“Therefore, the Ministry advises all members of the public to report all deaths occurring in the community and that all burials, especially those resulting from diarrheal causes, whether cholera infection is proven or not, should be carried out under the supervision of health workers. Eating at burials should be limited.

“As of 17 January 2024, Zimbabwe had 18,865 suspected cases of cholera, 2,223 confirmed cases, 18,137 recoveries, 71 confirmed deaths, and 336 suspected deaths.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has since declared a cholera outbreak in Hwange District in Matabeleland North Province after five suspected cases were discovered in the coal mining town. The cases were reported on Sunday and are all being monitored at Hwange Colliery Hospital.

Along Matabeleland North, there were six cases in Binga and Umjosa before the new cases in Hwange.

District stakeholders held a meeting at the District Development Coordinator’s office in Hwange on Wednesday where health and emergency response teams were activated. Notifying stakeholders in the district of the cholera case, Hwange District Medical Officer, Dr. Fungai Musinami, called for vigilance among citizens saying sanitation and hygiene were key in controlling the outbreak, as well as preventing future outbreaks.

“This communication aims to notify all stakeholders and residents that Hwange District has declared a cholera outbreak,” he said.

“Cases have been confirmed at present in Hwange Urban District. Response systems have been activated. Everyone is encouraged to follow cholera prevention guidelines and seek medical care early in the event of any diarrheal illness.

According to the ministry, Matabeleland North Province has 11 cumulative suspected cases of cholera, six of whom have recovered and five are in hospital care.

A recent cholera situation report shows that 60 districts reported cases in the country as of Wednesday.

“As of today, January 17, Zimbabwe has recorded 18,865 suspected cases of cholera, 2,223 confirmed cases, 18,137 recoveries, 71 confirmed deaths, and 336 suspected deaths,” the report said.

There were 23 laboratory-confirmed results, and cases were reported across the country. Development partner organizations such as the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have already joined forces to work closely with the government to assist 2.2 million people with oral cholera vaccination in 29 high-risk areas affected by the disease. Outbreak. Chronicle

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