By Nhau Mangirazi
KAROI-November 7,2015– Malaria outbreak has hit Karoi town where some residents in Chiedza ward fear it may turn fatal due to recurrence while responsible authorities are taking long to curb it.
Chiedza Ward ten area E adjacent to a disused Quarry dam that has stagnant water for over fifteen years is the worst affected where used pampers, waste material are strewn in the dam making it a breeding place for mosquitoes.
A random visit to fifteen households on this week by Radio VOP here revealed that at least three people were affected and clinically tested positive to malaria since April this year.
Some were treated although few did not seek medical attention due to the cash crunch affecting majority of Zimbabweans.
Among those affected and treated of malaria are children as young as two years old while some school going age pupils have dodged lessons due to illness.
In October the number increased due to hot weather as the number virtually doubled, according to residents’ interviewed.
Due to water crisis affecting most urban towns, some residents in the area also use the unclean water for washing clothes and other household chores.
Thirty five year old Susan Mudekwa who is recovering from the attack appealed to authorities to issue mosquito nets to residents.
‘’The dam is now the breeding place for mosquitoes and if they cannot drain all the water or fill with gravel, the responsible authorities can assist us with mosquito nets. It is becoming financially challenging for us to go to clinic nearly every week to seek medication,’’ said Mudekwa. Her twelve year old daughter was on medication during our visit.
Pamela Mutenha aged eighteen also appealed to authorities to regularly spray the dam to curb breeding of mosquitoes in the area.
The death of a man in the area could not be independently verified although some residents claim it was due to malaria but was buried in rural Nyamakate last Friday.
Chiedza E area coordinator Timothy Kwanda who is using his personal car to ferry patients to Karoi hospital expressed concern over delays by both Karoi council and Ministry of Health and Child Care to assist desperate residents.
‘’We are experiencing an average of 25 victims of malaria attack every day and they are tested positive at the hospital. Unfortunately, not all can afford to go to clinic and some are suffering in silence. Some are just vomiting at home and it is pathetic for many of us. We appeal to Hurungwe District Medical Officer, Karoi council and other responsible authorities to urgently take action over malaria outbreak,’’ said Kwanda in an interview.
A local doctor confirmed that uncomplicated malaria can turn fatal due to drug resistance by as some patients.
‘’It is not advisable that we have patients getting the same medication after few days or months of the same diseases. Malaria can be fatal although it may start off as uncomplicated that can easily be treated. There is need to react urgently on this medical crisis in Chiedza,’’ said a medical practitioner who declined to be named for professional reasons.
Ward councilor Fortune Madamobe refused to comment referring us to town secretary Maxwell Kaitano who indicated that he was in a meeting. He never returned our calls seeking an official comment.
Chiedza is Karoi second largest suburb established in the early 1990s and has estimated population of over 5000 residents but there is no public clinic forcing patients to travel either to Chikangwe or Karoi district hospital about four kilometers away.
Provincial Epidemiology Disease Control Officer Dr Gift Masoja visited Karoi on Wednesday over the crisis and confirmed that 390 people were tested and 190 were positive.
‘’This translates to 48 percent positive rate and we are concerned that we have since established health clubs to scale up awareness campaigns within the area as intervention measure. We are also spraying the dam with the hope to curb the breeding of mosquitoes,’’ he said in an interview.
Ironically, Ministry of Health and Child Care is spearheading an advocacy campaigns in mainly malaria prone rural outskirts including Hurungwe district that cover Karoi town within Mashonaland West province where mosquito nets are distributed freely.