tougher fight against DEADLY cholera LOOMS
Authorities at Messina Hospital in Musina, Limpopo, yesterday treated a number of patients suspected to have contracted cholera.
Sowetan visited the hospital yesterday and discovered that at least three tents had been erected inside the premises to deal with the high influx of Zimbabweans wanting treatment.
Yesterday, the hospital admitted at least 17 patients, all from Zimbabwe.
The disease was first detected last week after a number of people came to the hospital complaining about excessive diarrhoea and vomiting.
The hospital had until late yesterday managed to treat 169 people, mostly Zimbabweans. This follows reports of an outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe two weeks ago.
Four patients have subsequently died. Of the three, one was a South African who allegedly contracted the disease while doing business in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The national Department of Health, together with the Limpopo department of health and social development, said yesterday that they had dispatched a team of officials to monitor the situation in the area to ensure the disease did not get out of hand.
Phuti Seloba, spokesman for the provincial department, said they were carrying out tests on the water used in the whole of Musina to ensure it did not endanger people's lives.
"We have joined hands with the Musina municipality to ensure that the water is free of disease," said Seloba.
According to Seloba, the problem did not actually start in Musina.
He said Zimbabweans who were crossing into South Africa looking for work and food brought the disease with them.
"But for now we cannot lay the blame on these poor patients.
"We need to provide them with proper treatment. At the same time we need to identify the source of the disease so that we can stop it spreading to the rest of the country," Seloba said.
Tapson Nduna and Kudarwoshi Makuvisa, both Zimbabweans who were admitted to Messina Hospital, said they would go to South Africa to look for work once they were discharged.
"We will not go back to Zimbabwe once they discharge us because there is no work and food there," said Makuvisa.
"How are the authorities going to deal with this cholera outbreak now?" he added.
Seloba said Pietersburg Hospital, the biggest hospital in Limpopo, would today send six specialists, led by a clinical manager, to assess the situation and also give advice on how the situation could best be addressed.