Zimbabwe, 7 Children Dead Due To Diarrhea Outbreak

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A suspected diarrhea outbreak affected two towns in Zimbabwe with more than 6000 people having the disease and at least seven children who died because of complications, according to a report from a state newspaper this Sunday.

Diarrhea is the frequent passing of loose or watery stools.  It is a common cause of death in developing countries because of poor water-sewage system and sanitation, and also, the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites, certain medicines, food intolerances and diseases that affect the stomach, small intestine or colon. Usually, the causes of diarrhea are contaminated water and food that are consumed by the individual.

Children are the most susceptible to acquire this condition, and they commonly die because of complications brought about by diarrhea i.e., dehydration. This is for a reason that the total body weight of the child is composed mostly of fluids.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is approximately 3.5 million deaths noted attributed to diarrhea, and most of this cases which is tantamount to almost eighty (80) per cent occur in children under the age of 5 years.

“Seven children died in Masvingo and Kadoma last week following a diarrhea outbreak which has seen a total of 6,472 cases being recorded in the two towns,” The Sunday Mail reported.

The main problem that could have been the culprit of the suspected diarrhea outbreak are the presence of unclean water and poor sanitation in the said locality according to Portia Manangazira, director for disease control in the health ministry. When this contaminated water is consumed by the population, they are at a greater risk of developing certain water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera.

Diarrhea outbreak usually occurs in localities where there is improper water-sewage system and clean, potable supply of drinking water. Also, poor sanitation can play a role in the outbreak because contaminated foods can be as well source for microorganism which can cause the said condition. Thus, what the government can do about the problem is to trace the source of the contaminated water and widespread information dissemination on how to prevent diarrhea.

Back in August 2008, large areas of Zimbabwe were affected by the widespread cholera epidemic. By December of that same year, the total number of people infected reached up to 10,000 of almost all of the provinces of Zimbabwe.

Eradicating outbreaks of diarrhea is one of the Millennium Development Goals. The UNICEF in their website mentioned several steps toward reducing diarrhea:

-          Improving household drinking water can reduce diarrhea episodes by as much as 39 per cent; on average, improvements to household sanitation facilities can reduce sickness from diarrhea by almost a third. Almost half of the nearly 2 million deaths from diarrhea each year could be prevented through an understanding of basic hygiene.

-          The world is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal on water but not sanitation. With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, all regions should meet their water targets. Under current rates of progress, the world will miss the sanitation target by more than half a billion people.

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  1. [...] in Masvingo and Kadoma did not signal a new epidemic of cholera like that which claimed …Zimbabwe, 7 Children Dead Due To Diarrhea OutbreakHeal Blog (blog)Diarrhea outbreak kills seven children in ZimbabweAFPDiarrhea outbreak in Zimbabwe [...]

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