Cholera outbreak: Mkoba Teachers College temporarily closed
MIDLANDS BUREAU CHIEF
GWERU – Health Authorities in Gweru have temporarily closed Mkoba Teachers College following a suspected cholera outbreak with an alarming 508 reported diarrhoea cases.
Midlands Provincial Medical Director Dr Mary Muchekeza confirmed the development in a statement.
“Reference is hereby made to the ongoing diarrhoea outbreak at Mkoba Teachers College. As at 13 November 2023 at 1800hrs, the college had reported a total of 508 diarrhoea cases,” she said.
Muchekeza said a total of 20 stool samples were collected for cholera, typhoid and dysentery and all produced negative results.
However, she said epidemiological investigations revealed that, from a total of five water samples collected, three were found to be unfit for human consumption.
“In light of the findings and challenges mentioned, we believe it is in the best interest of public health to take immediate and decisive action.
“We recommend temporary closure of the institution and postponement of all events for 14 days until all recommendations made to the institution have been thoroughly met.
“We understand the potential disruption the closure may cause. We assure you that the primary concern is to prevent transmission and re-infection,” she said.
Gweru is sitting on a health time bomb, with the third-largest city grappling with water challenges and the local authority citing power outages and pipe leakages at Gwenhoro Water Treatment Plant.
The situation has forced residents to resort to borehole water and other sources that may be contaminated.
Following a recent outbreak of diarrhoea at Mkoba Teacher’s College in Gweru, health authorities in the Midlands province measures to close the learning institution for two weeks.
Furthermore, vendors operating at Mtapa market are not sure if the local authority is prepared to effectively combat cholera, which has hit parts of the country.
Mtapa is one of the city’s largest vending markets accommodating more than 2,000 vendors.
The market has been operating without ablution facilities and running water for almost three years. The local authority continuously assured the vendors who use a nearby Mtapa Cemetery to relieve themselves that toilets would be built.
Gweru residents have resorted to digging backyard wells as water remains a perennial problem. Some use borehole water, however, some boreholes are contaminated.
In 2018, a diarrhoea outbreak in Mkoba 15, 18 and 20 killed 11 people leaving more than 1000 hospitalized.