Confronted by the scourge of a diarrhoea outbreak which has already jeopardised efforts to mitigate the spread of the Covid19 pandemic, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government has deployed to Bulawayo, army doctors to join forces with the local authority in the treatment of patients in the city.
The revelations were made by Local Government and Public Works minister July Moyo last Friday.
This also comes at a time when the Government has also set up a high-level technical committee tasked with investigating the outbreak of the water-borne disease in the populous township of Luveve.
The residents infected with diarrhoea in the neighborhood are now being tested for Covid19.
Bulawayo has, in a short space of time, recorded a total of nine diarrhoea related mortalities- way above the national cumulative figure of six confirmed Covid19 deaths in three months.
Around 1 000 patients from Luveve suburb have, to date, been treated with medical staffers from Bulawayo city council conducting door-to-door awareness campaigns to identify new cases while available ambulances ferry critically ill patients to Mpilo Central Hospital, free of charge.
Minister Moyo was quoted in the state media as saying the deployed doctors from the army were going to work hand-in-gloves with the metropolitan provincial office and the local authority.
“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,” Minister Moyo said.
“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,” Moyo told the state-owned Chronicle.
He also revealed that Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Bulawayo Judith Ncube and the Provincial Development Coordinator Khonzani Ncube assembled the team of experts constituting the taskforce committee on the outbreak.
“The Minister of State, working with the acting Provincial Development Coordinator, has set up a team composed of all technical departments led by (the Environment Management Agency) 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,” quipped Moyo.
Minister Moyo added that there was suspicion from certain quarters that the diarrhoea outbreak could have resulted from burst sewer pipes contaminating water bodies while the other school of thought has it that residents who use raw sewer for gardening purposes in the suburbs are the scapegoats.
As a result of this, the city council which also confirmed that the patients in Luveve were suffering from the gastrointestinal ailments, has been conducting independent tests on its water at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Cimas laboratory.
However, residents have been wary over the delayed outcome of the test results, two weeks after the testing was conducted.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews