BCC sounds alarm on open-air worshipping as Cholera fears rise

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has flagged open-air worshipping, as a potential spreader of Cholera.

The virulent bacterial disease has claimed over 150 lives countrywide while the city has recorded three cases and one fatality.

An official from the local authority, Sitshengisiwe Siziba, Senior Health Promotion Officer, said the council is in the process of engaging the leaders of these churches as a way of creating awareness around the disease. 

Siziba was addressing journalists at a meeting hosted by the Humanitarian Information Facilitation Center, in conjunction with the Health Communicators Forum. 

“We are using various communication channels. The main reason why people get cholera is because of poor hygiene. We focus mainly on giving information on hygiene we will be talking about general cleanliness. People should always wash their hands and just like was the case during COVID-19, avoid shaking of hands. Food hygiene is also important,” she said.

“There are areas in our city where there is a lot of open-air worshipping around the city so we are engaging the leaders of these churches with regards to cholera prevention. We do know that where there are no ablution facilities, it becomes a major fuel for transmitting diseases.”

Siziba said their department does community announcements and make use of online platforms, where they pass information to councillors and members of parliament to disseminate to the people. 

“We have WhatsApp groups where we engage with councillors and members of parliament. We give them information which they in turn disseminate to their constituencies and wards,” she said.

“We also have partners that we are working with who come in with non-food items. They supply kits with soap and buckets. One way of fighting cholera is hygiene and to effectively wash your hands you need soap. Our observations have been that in most cases where there are cholera outbreaks, hygiene would be compromised that’s why we monitor closely.”

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