The cholera deaths of pupils from Tsatse Primary School in Nyanga, two weeks ago, came amid reports the cholera outbreak was spreading in schools in Manicaland Province.
The outbreak had been reported at Lydia Chimonyo High School in Chimanimani district where 20 students were receiving treatment at Mutambara Mission Hospital.
Peter Muzavazi, Manicaland Provincial Education Director, told journalists in Nyanga that apart from Tsatse Primary School, other schools in the province had been affected by cholera.
“We have been experiencing sporadic outbreaks in some schools in the province in the past few months and we urge school health coordinators to be vigilant,” Muzawazi said.
“Schools’ health committees should be strengthened to ensure that they react quickly in the event of an outbreak. There was another cholera outbreak that was reported at Tsatse Primary School in Nyanga where we lost about 15 pupils. Seven children died on the first day of the outbreak, a situation, which calls for a revamp of the schools’ health systems.”
“Schools should be proactive and not reactive because lives may be lost in the process,” he said.
At Lydia Chimonyo High School, all the victims, among them five students, were admitted at Mutambara Mission Hospital.
The civil protection unit in Manicaland was reportedly working round the clock to contain the outbreak. Some relief organizations such as Mercy Corps and Red Cross were reportedly assisting personnel from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in efforts to combat the outbreak.
Meanwhile WHO and the Ministry of Health on Monday launched a concerted effort to fight the outbreak of measles after 400 children died of the preventable disease.
According to the latest statistics 400 children had died this year following the measlkes outbreak from over 7000 recorded cases in the country.
Launching the campaign in the capital, WHO country representative, Dr Custodia Mandhlante, called for stronger engagement among all the stakeholders.
“We are calling for strong engagement and deep involvement of all stakeholders,” Mandhlante said. “Let us all join hands and renew our commitments as a caring society.”
UNICEF country representative, Peter Salama said the campaign will help support children’s health especially the challenges they are facing.
“This campaign is a bold step to arrest some of the immense challenges that confront Zimbabwe’s children in the area of Accelerated Child Survival and Development,” Salama said.
The country has witnessed a surge in measles cases over the years due to lack of immunisation exercises after the country’s economy and health sector collapsed.
Political leaders of late have been trying to convince the apostolic church sects in the country to encourage their members to immunize their children after discovering that the churches do not approve of immunisation in their church doctrines