Sunday February 23, 2020

Harare, Zimbabwe Suffers From Cholera Outbreak

Poor hygiene, water quality and waste disposal in densely populated areas remain unsolved.

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Cholera, Zimbabwe
Cholera patients lie in beds in Budiriro clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. VOA

Lizzy Maupa uses a bucket to transfer water she used to bathe from her tub to her toilet.

She has a four-week-old baby and a three-year-old child, but the city water supply has not been working for a month, says Maupa.

So she collects water from a nearby river, which she boils to drink. Maupa is being extra careful after Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health on Thursday announced an outbreak of cholera in their part of the city

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Health Minister David Parirenyatwa warns people to wash their hands and drink only clean water. VOA

“I have heard about it. I heard on the news last night,” she says. “So I am trying to be hygienic so that I can take care of the little ones. It has been difficult. I have too many water demands.”

 

Zimbabwe’s outgoing Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told reporters late Thursday approximately 40 people were being treated for cholera and five had already died from diarrhea and vomiting, typical symptoms of the water-borne disease.

During a visit to a temporary cholera treatment camp in Harare, he warned people to wash their hands and drink only clean water.

“It is usually a problem of contaminated water. These people were drinking water from, we suspect from one or two boreholes that our team has gone to take samples from,” he explained. “If they are contaminated, they will be decommissioned for now. Those that we have here are getting much, much better. As usual prevention, prevention, prevention is key otherwise we will have an outbreak throughout the country.”

 

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Calvin Fambirai, the head of Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights in Harare warns the country must improve basic sanitation to prevent further outbreaks. VOA

A 2008 cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe lasted over a year and killed about 5,000 people.

 

It was stopped only after international groups like USAID donated drugs and water treatment chemicals.

The head of Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights Calvin Fambirai warns the country must improve basic sanitation to prevent further outbreaks.

“The conditions that necessitate the spread of cholera and typhoid in Zimbabwe haven’t changed,” he warned. “They are becoming worse by the day. The first problem we face is authorities haven’t been giving resources necessary for the improvement of service delivery in the country to make sure that these archaic diseases do not continue to break out.”

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Some Harare citizens walk by a heap of waste which has not been collected for days. Experts say that is a breeding zone for cholera. VOA

Poor hygiene, water quality and waste disposal in densely populated areas remain unsolved, notes Fambirai.

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Residents often go for weeks without running water or waste collection.

Health Minister Parirenyatwa said the sanitation situation would improve a promise that many have heard before. (VOA)

Next Story

Young Mothers are More Prone To Have Mental Health Problems: Study

Almost 40 per cent of young moms have more than one mental health issue, including depression, a range of anxiety disorders and hyperactivity

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The study said identifying and treating mental health issues in young mothers is especially important as their health also affects the wellbeing of their children. Pixabay

Researchers have found that two out of three young mothers have at least one mental health issue.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that teen mothers have a much higher prevalence of mental health challenges than mothers aged 21 and older and teens who aren’t parents.

Almost 40 per cent of young moms have more than one mental health issue, including depression, a range of anxiety disorders and hyperactivity.

This is up to four times higher than in mothers aged 21 years or older and teens without children, the researchers said,

“Now that we understand that young mothers can struggle with problems other than just postpartum depression, our findings can be used to develop better screening processes, more effectively detect mental health problems in teenaged mothers, and direct treatment,” said study researcher Ryan Van Lieshout from McMaster University in Canada.

For the findings, Between 2012 and 2015, the Young Mothers Health Study recruited 450 mothers aged younger than 21 years old and 100 comparison mothers aged older than 20 years old at the time of their first delivery. The moms were from Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Brant counties.

This study is the one of the first in the world to use diagnostic interviews to examine a range of mental health problems beyond postpartum depression.

“Structured diagnostic interviews are the gold standard for this kind of research. We’re glad to have used this method to talk to hundreds of young mothers about their experiences,” said study lead author Van Lieshout.

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Researchers have found that two out of three young mothers have at least one mental health issue. Pixabay

Age-matched young mothers were also compared with 15 to 17-year-old women without children from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study who were assessed for mental disorders, the researchers said.

The study said identifying and treating mental health issues in young mothers is especially important as their health also affects the wellbeing of their children.

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“Young mothers can face a great deal of adversity both before and after becoming a parent, yet next-to-nothing has been known about the rates and types of significant mental health problems among these women in our community,” Lieshout said. (IANS)