Tuesday February 19, 2019

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.

Also Read: US Airport Gets 2 Health Scare From Inbound Flights

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)

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Know How Higher Intake of Sodium Can Treat Lightheadedness

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

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"Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms," Juraschek said. Pixabay

Higher sodium intake should not be used as a treatment for lightheadedness, say researchers challenging current guidelines for sodium consumption.

Lightheadedness while standing, known as postural lightheadedness, results from gravitational drop in blood pressure and is common among adults.

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

However, contrary to this recommendation, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) found that higher sodium intake, actually increases dizziness.

“Our study has clinical and research implications,” said Stephen Juraschek, researcher from BIDMC in Boston.

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Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions. Pixabay

“Our results serve to caution health practitioners against recommending increased sodium intake as a universal treatment for lightheadedness. Additionally, our results demonstrate the need for additional research to understand the role of sodium, and more broadly of diet, on lightheadedness,” Juraschek said.

For the study, reported in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, the team used data from the completed DASH-Sodium trial, a randomised crossover study that looked at the effects of three different sodium levels (1500, 2300, and 3300 mg/d) on participants’ blood pressure for four weeks.

While the trial showed that lower sodium led to decrease in blood pressure, it also suggested that concerns about lower level of sodium causing dizziness may not be scientifically correct.

Also Read: ‘It Has Been A Very Long Process, But Ultimately A Very Successful Process’: South Korea Agrees to Pay More for U.S. Troops

The study also questioned recommendations to use sodium to treat lightheadedness, an intervention that could have negative effects on cardiovascular health.

“Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms,” Juraschek said.

“Clinicians should check on symptoms after initiation and even question the utility of this approach. More importantly, research is needed to understand the effects of sodium on physical function, particularly in older adults.” (IANS)