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Kwekwe pupils vulnerable to cholera



IN a development that could spark a cholera outbreak in Kwekwe, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) in the district has relocated hundreds of pupils from Globe and Phoenix Primary School which caved in due to illegal mining last year, to another school outside the town without expanding water and sanitation facilities at the institution.


Fortune Mpungu, the Kwekwe CPU chairperson, confirmed to The NewsHawks the relocation of the pupils to Russel Primary School now known as Sally Mugabe Primary School.

When Globe and Phoenix Primary School caved in last year after consistent illegal underground gold mining by mostly Zanu PF-aligned youths, 14 pupils were injured.
The pupils were admitted to Kwekwe General Hospital.

The government decided to shut down the school as the illegal miners continued to operate.
This week, Mpungu told The NewsHawks that the relocation of affected pupils to Sally Mugabe Primary School will be temporary.

“We have provided temporary classroom tents at the school where the pupils have been relocated to and that is Sally Mugabe Primary. In terms of water and sanitation facilities, all the students are using the old ones. They are enough,” he said.

When asked about the risk of a cholera outbreak, Mpungu said his department had roped in officials from the ministry of Health to conduct regular monitoring at the school.

“We are working with the ministry of Health on preventing cholera at the school. We feel we are on top of the situation. Besides, plans are already there for construction of a new school and we are waiting for the rainy season to end so that the work can begin.

“Plans and designs for the new school have already been drawn and very soon construction will begin. The stay of the pupils at that school is temporary,” he said.

However, sources at Sally Mugabe Primary School said a health time bomb is looming at the institution as there have not been any mobile toilets or water bowsers brought in to cater for the increased number of pupils.

“We are talking of about 1 300 pupils who have been relocated to a school that already had overpopulated children with limited water and sanitation facilities such as ablution blocks.
“The number of students is overwhelming the facilities already and general workers are failing to maintain hygiene at the toilets. When there are water outages, there are no additional supplies that are on standby,” said the source.

Kwekwe is yet to record a single case of cholera, but the situation across the country is bad.
As at 31 January 2024, Zimbabwe had recorded 23 835 suspected cases and 2 387 confirmed cases, according to the Health ministry. There have also been 71 confirmed deaths and 426 suspected deaths as well as a case fatality rate of 1.91 %.

On the same day alone, the Health ministry said 196 new suspected cholera cases had been recorded and two suspected deaths.

Again, hospitalised cases recorded on that same day stood at 234 spread across such areas as Chiredzi (22), Bikita (5), Chivi (4), Masvingo (4), Gutu (5), Chipinge (17), Zaka (4), Matobo (2), and Gwanda (4).

Cases were also reported in Hwange (7), Zvishavane (4), Sanyati (7), Kariba (3), Chitungwiza (1) and four cases at Thorngrove Hospital in Bulawayo. Hwange Colliery Hospital in Matabeland North recorded five cases.

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