Friday 9 August 2019


Harare City Council was yesterday forced to close its Remembrance, Mbare District and Harare Municipal Police offices in Mbare after at least 55 workers contracted diarrhoea when they drank water from a contaminated borehole at the premises, The Herald can reveal.

Council’s acting human capital director Mr  Mathew Marara — in a memo addressed to Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango, Mbare District Office and Harare Municipal Police sub-office —  said the affected employees were receiving treatment at Mbare Polyclinic.

“Temporary closure of Remembrance offices, Mbare District Office and Harare Municipal Police sub-office after a diarrhoea outbreak from August 2, 2019 to date,” reads the memo.

“An approximate number of 55 employees were affected and some are receiving treatment at Mbare Polyclinic. 

“Employees were drinking water from the borehole which is the only source of water at the work station. According to the sample results taken on August 6 by the quality section, the borehole is contaminated.”

In an interview, the City’s Health Services Director Dr Prosper Chonzi said the outbreak was confined to the Remembrance Drive offices.

“Yes, I can confirm that over 50 council employees have been attended to at our clinic in Mbare with the condition of diarrhoea,” he said.

“So far the outbreak has only affected people operating at the Remembrance offices and it has not stretched into the community, although we are continuing with surveillance.” 

Dr Chonzi did not rule out food poisoning adding tests were still being carried out s on the patients to establish the source of the diarrhoea.

He advised residents to always treat water before domestic use and visit a clinic if they show any signs of diarrhoea.

“We continue to urge residents all over the city to ensure that they treat water with aqua tablets, water guard or boiling it before use, regardless of its source,” said Dr Chonzi.

“We also encourage them to immediately visit the nearest clinic if they show any symptoms of diarrhoea, cholera or typhoid as we have made a provision for them to be treated for free.”

Sewer bursts and erratic water supplies remain the major drivers of cholera outbreaks in Harare, while water rationing  has seen residents resorting to unsafe water sources. Herald


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