Religious sects shun health services as cholera spreads in Zvimba

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By Elvis Dumba

Zvimba – Cholera continues to wreak havoc in various communities with religious sects hampering efforts in fighting the killer disease through their refusal to seek health services.

In Chirau, Zvimba District, at least two people have succumbed to the disease that has forced the health ministry to set up a cholera camp in the area where a section of a religious sect is refusing to seek medical help with reports that families are hiding relatives who are sick.

Two people in Chirau are suspected to have succumbed to cholera whilst close-knit family members are said to be sick and have been refusing to get medical attention due to their religious beliefs, putting the whole community at risk.

Zvimba district medical officer, Dr Terence Dandadzi confirmed the situation and said a cholera medical center has since been established in the village.

“Yes it’s true we have recorded cholera-positive cases in Zvimba, but this was done on the rapid test. We are, however, sending some samples for culture,” he said.

Mrs. Angeline Zimbwani Mikiri, a villager in Chirau, called upon authorities to force people in the area to get their sick to medical centers.

“What is happening is that relatives of people who are showing symptoms of cholera are hiding them from health workers as they are following their religious beliefs, and this is putting the whole community at risk as the disease will continue spreading around in the area,” she said.

Cholera has been on the increase in the country, and this has also been attributed to challenges in accessing safe, clean drinking water, especially in high-density areas and population-condensed villages.

Garikai Chivhere said authorities should enforce lockdowns in cholera high-risk areas.

“I think if we managed to control Covid-19 through enforcement of things like lockdowns, we should do the same for high-risk areas so that we stop the spread of cholera before it’s too late,” he said.

Dr. Agnes Mahomva, the COVID-19 Chief Coordinator has been hailed for leading compliance with the regulations to curb the killer disease.

In a similar fashion, there are calls for stakeholders to ensure that all communities comply with health provisions in the fight against the spread of cholera.