7 April 2016
REPORTS that the country has recorded a decrease in common diarrhoea deaths are most welcome news as this is a treatable and preventable disease that should never lead to loss of life.
Health experts are by no means asking for the extraordinary by saying the cases should come down to zero.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Careâ€™s surveillance reports of week 52 in 2014 and 2015, 908 and 504 deaths were recorded in the respective years.
This is a huge and significant decrease that could be a result of the Rotavirus vaccine which was introduced last year.
That vaccine was only used for the last half of the year and figures should come further down come the end of this year, hopefully zeroing in on the zero mark called for by health experts.
Everyone who bears a child must ensure that the baby gets anti-diarrhoea children vaccine at 10 weeks and 14 weeks to prevent common diarrhoea.
No person, child or adult, must die of a disease as preventable and curable as diarrhoea.
Waterborne diseases, mostly caused by poor water and sanitation, have become a perennial menace to Zimbabwe as a country.
We must all start playing a role towards minimising these cases and not just through the aforementioned vaccine.
Other waterborne diseases like typhoid and dysentery have also continued to claim lives with health experts arguing that these could see the country having a cholera outbreak if determinants are not dealt with.
For a country that has been ravaged by a cholera outbreak – in 2008/9 – Zimbabwe should have learnt lessons so as to avoid a recurrence of communicable diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid.
We suffered 100 000 cases and 5 000 deaths courtesy of the cholera scourge and diseases like diarrhoea and typhoid can do the same if preventive measures are not taken.
Summer is notorious for upsurges in diarrhoea cases because of an increase of flies and an increase of water bodies but poor water quality and quantity is the major cause of diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea is both preventable and treatable but strangely, it continues to claim lives.
People lack education of how to prevent the deaths of (especially) children through diarrhoea.
Many do not know the most basic things like the need to begin oral rehydration soon after a child â€“ or even an adult â€“ succumbs to diarrhoea.
And when the condition is accompanied by high temperatures or fevers, people must know that there is need to rush for medical assistance before the childrenâ€™s health deteriorates.
Use of unprotected and unsafe water sources is obviously largely to blame for the spread of diseases like diarrhoea and local authorities merely have to provide uninterrupted water supplies to end diarrhoeal diseases.
Without running water, faecal matter is difficult to dispose of and is likely being washed into the streams whilst people have nowhere to wash their hands, further exposing residents to waterborne diseases.
The water and sanitation system is still the same in the country and we continue to lobby the local authorities to prioritise the provision of clean and safe water.
While we urge the nation to remember hand washing, wash all food eaten raw & fruits in season with safe water it is a catch 24 situation because sometimes the clean water is not available.
So everything goes back to the local authorities, we continue to appeal to them that they avail clean running water at all times so that nobody especially children dies of diarrhea.