Zimbabwe: Bacteria Found in Harare Boreholes

By Precious Manomano

Many boreholes in Harare are contaminated with a faecal bacteria, Escherichia coli (E.coli), according to the Upper Manyame Sub-Catchment Council (UMSCC), and this is a sign that cholera could also contaminate these boreholes across 13 residential areas of Harare.

The areas listed are in: Mt Pleasant, Avondale, Glen View, Lyton industry, Greendale, Eastlea, Mbare, Budiriro, Waterfalls, Eyecourt, Chitungwiza, Hopley and Norton.

The presence of E.coli indicates potential contamination of the water supply in these areas by sewage, and that can open doors to contamination by cholera which poses a significant health risk.

In a statement, UMSCC has advised residents not to use untreated water from boreholes in the affected areas for drinking, cooking, or washing.

They should treat the water before use. “Use aqua tabs to treat your borehole water. Boil all water for at least one minute before consumption even for brushing teeth or preparing food. Get your borehole water tested by a reputable laboratory to confirm its safety. UMSCC can provide information on accredited laboratories,” said the council.

Although UMSCC is taking steps to address the situation, immediate action is recommended for individual residents.

The households and institutions who had their water tested have been informed of the results.

Government has also put in place measures that seek to strengthen systems as part of its effort to address the current cholera outbreak in the short and long term.

These include putting in infrastructure for water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) to ensure that communities have access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

The latest cholera outbreak in the country started on the February 12 2023 in Chegutu town, Mashonaland West Province.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has reported that the suspected and confirmed cases have been reported in 61 districts in all the 10 provinces of the country since then.

As of Monday, a cumulative total of 26 189 suspected cholera cases, 71 laboratory-confirmed deaths, 485 suspected cholera deaths and 2 631 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported.

The outbreak has now spread to more than the 17 traditional cholera hotspot districts of Buhera, Chegutu, Chikomba, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chitungwiza, Chiredzi, Harare, Gokwe North, Marondera, Mazowe, Shamva, Mutare, Murehwa, Mwenezi, Seke and Wedza.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *