Pumula North Suburb in Bulawayo has been hit by a diarrhoeal outbreak with more than a hundred residents having been affected by the disease.
This outbreak was noticed between Friday and Saturday when residents started complaining of stomach aches.
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has moved to put a waiver on treatment fees to enable those affected to access medication freely at Pumula Clinic.
Confirming the outbreak, the city’s Corporate Communications Manager, Nesisa Mpofu, said so far about 132 people had been affected.
“There was a reported diarrhoea outbreak in Pumula so far about 132 people claim to have been affected and many have recovered 20 were seen at the clinic today and we have put a waiver on fees temporarily,” she told CITE.
A CITE news crew visited Pumula Clinic and found some patients waiting their turn to be treated, with some medical staff having gone to Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital to take more medication.
“Yes, there is a problem because residents were crying of stomach pains and I referred this to the attention of council and nurses were deployed to go door to door checking for the affected. We are still encouraging people to come forward and go to the clinic if they feel unwell,” said Ward 17 Councillor Skhululekile Moyo in an interview.
“The residents started complaining on Friday heading into Saturday unfortunately by the time we were alerted the clinic had closed and some could not receive immediate attention. But on Monday, the nurses started attending to cases while some went to the affected areas in Pumula known as Emaphayiphini, houses by the shops and after the main tar road by ZAOGA church.”
The ward councillor suspected water contamination to have been the cause of the diarrhoeal outbreak since the council started water shedding.
“The city council is still analysing to see what could have caused the outbreak but I suspect that since we have started water-shedding, the water came back dirty after it was switched back on,” she said.
“I also think that residents also forgot to boil the water first or let it run until the dirty water ran out before consuming it since the city had stayed for some time without having the water-shedding exercise.”
Moyo advised residents to boil the water first before drinking, citing that the city’s piping infrastructure was now old.
“People must first boil their water for drinking and not drink it immediately because our pipes, which are galvanised, are now old and rusty,” said the ward councillor.
“We also advise residents to use water sparingly because water is scarce. That’s why we have to do the water-shedding. If there are some residents who have not sought treatment, I encourage them to go to Pumula Clinic because the treatment is for free.”