143 die of water-borne diseases

At least 143 people have died of diarrhoea and dysentery since the beginning of the year according to the latest health ministry weekly disease surveillance report.

A standard blair-toilet built by the community for a vulnerable Kangwena.
A standard blair-toilet built by the community for a vulnerable Kangwena.

Observers say this is not surprising as the Zimbabwe Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2014 reveals that 44 percent of the rural populace do not have access to a toilet facility, creating a favourable environment for water-borne disease. MICS adds that 24 percent of the rural households have no access to safe drinking water sources.

The report records 12,724 diarrhoea cases and 20 deaths during week seven of this year. Of these, 6,205 cases and 11 deaths were children under five. One cholera case has been confirmed in Chiredzi district with 204 confirmed typhoid cases reported in other parts of the country.

Safe drinking water and sanitation are some of the essential elements that determine improvement of living standards, as they reduce morbidity and mortality from diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, and typhoid.

Access to adequate sanitation continues to be improved through the demand-led sanitation approaches such as the Sanitation Focused Participatory Health and Hygiene Education in rural areas and the rehabilitation of sewerage systems in urban centres.

According to MICS 2014, Matabeleland North province is leading in shortage of toilets at 70 percent, followed by Masvingo province at 55 percent households without sanitation facilities.

Matabeleland south province is third with 43 percent, Midlands 40 percent, Mashonaland West 34 percent, Mashonaland Central 21 percent, Mash East 30 percent, Manicaland 18 percent. Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces are at less than two percent each.

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