Eighteen more people from Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo have contracted diarrhoea in the past 24 hours. This takes the total number of patients to 255 since the outbreak started earlier this week.
City fathers attribute the spike in cases to water challenges as the city’s water sources have literally gone dry.
Bulawayo city council spokesperson, Nesisa Mpofu says residents are now resorting to fetching water form unsafe sources.
“The painful thing is that some residents have been going to unprotected wells for water. Water which is bad. But right now, we are in a crisis, we are in a drought and we are not able to meet water provision demands,” she said.
Bulawayo health services director, Dr Edwin Sibanda, told ZTN that the water crisis in the city is causing the disease outbreak.
“The reason why we have this problem of diarrhoea and water related diseases, is because we do not have water at all. Go to our dams and you will see there is no water. What council is doing is, we are delivering water and at the moment it is about once a week to the residents. We have boreholes and bowsers that move around delivering water to make sure that people have something to use.”
The diarrhoea outbreak in Bulawayo comes as Zimbabwe on Thursday joined the rest of the world in marking global hand-washing day. World health organization country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said there is need to adopt a multi-sectoral approach in addressing the water challenges across the country. He said the water crisis causes medieval diseases which can be avoided when there is a functional water system in place.