GWERU – Following a diarrhea outbreak that rocked Gweru town recently, health authorities have decided to temporarily close Mkoba Teacher’s College to pave way for further assessment of the health situation at the institution of higher learning at a time when the country is grappling with a ravaging cholera outbreak.
The closure was communicated and confirmed by the Midlands Provincial Medical Director Mary Muchekeza in a statement.
A total of 20 stool samples were collected for cholera, typhoid, and dysentery laboratory tests and all were negative with epidemiological investigations conducted revealing that of a total of five water samples collected, three were found to be unfit for human consumption.
“Reference is hereby made to the ongoing diarrheal outbreak at Mkoba Teachers College. As of 13 November, 2023 at 1800hrs, the college had reported a total of 508 diarrheal cases. In light of the findings and challenges mentioned above. 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,” said Muchekeza in a statement.
On Monday (November 13), Gweru Residents declared a state of emergency over the water crisis in Gweru which had gone close to three weeks.
A water crisis has been bedeviling the city for close to a decade now, with the latest development coming only three weeks back after council failed to pump water due to a pipe burst.
GRRA director, Conelia Selipiwe however said that access to clean water was a basic right that is important for the survival of humanity and said the crisis was exposing residents to waterborne diseases and called on government and other stakeholders to intervene.
“Today the residents of this city declare the water situation a state of emergency and request that the ministry of local government and public works and the minister of state for Midlands to intervene,” said Selipiwe
In 2018 the City of Gweru recorded a diarrhea outbreak that affected Mkoba 15, 18, and 20 where 11 deaths were recorded leaving more than 500 people admitted under home care.