27 December 2018

Zimbabwe: Mnene Hospital Suspected Source of Cholera Outbreak

Photo: New Zimbabwe
Cholera treatment in Zimbabwe (file photo).

Mnene Mission Hospital in Mberengwa is suspected to be the source of a cholera outbreak that has killed three people in Chomubobo Resettlement Area in Mberengwa, after samples taken from a river, which is the main water source for people in the area, was found to be contaminated.

It is suspected that raw sewage from the Lutheran-run hospital contaminated Mnene River.

"These are rural areas and Mnene Mission Hospital is the only institution upstream that has sewage. So it is suspected that it discharged raw sewer into an open stream," said a source.

Mberengwa North Member of Parliament Cde Tafanana Zhou said samples taken from the river showed that the water was contaminated.

Cde Zhou said the water was likely to have been contaminated upstream.

"People in the area fetch water from the river because the borehole which they relied on broke down. So samples taken from the river where they were getting water showed that the water was contaminated. We are not sure where this is coming from, but it is likely that the water was contaminated up the stream," he said.

Cde Zhou said the situation in Mberengwa had improved and most affected villagers had been treated and discharged.

"The cases were about 10. Some have been treated and discharged. We are appealing to well-wishers and the corporate world to assist us in sinking boreholes in the area so that people get clean water sources," he said.

Contacted for comment, Midlands provincial medical director Dr Simon Nyadundu said the Ministry of Health and Child Care was still to establish the actual source.

"The water was contaminated, but we cannot say it is Mnene Mission Hospital because we haven't established that yet. This is the first incident and we can't say it is Mnene unless this happens on several other occasions.

"We are still investigating," he said.

Cholera has since claimed three lives from 10 cases recorded since the outbreak on Tuesday last week.

Government has since responded by setting up cholera treatment camps in Chomubobo area and at Mnene Mission Hospital.

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