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Community health workers, the unsung heroes

Community health workers, the unsung heroes

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

COMMUNITY health workers have emerged as the unsung heroes in the wake of a cholera outbreak that has affected various parts of the country including Buhera District.

Found in every district across the county, community health workers are the foot soldiers who form an integral part of the country’s health care system.

Faced with the cholera outbreak, they have the unenviable task of going around every village educating the public on the dangers associated with the highly infectious disease.

“We are going around the villages educating the people on the dangers associated with cholera. Some people listen and follow instructions but for other religious sects it’s a difficult task.

“We have other people who believe that cholera is a spiritual disease and instead of taking those affected to the hospital they take them to the river where they will be passing the water stool in the river the whole day and this is the same water which is used by other people downstream to bath, wash their clothes and sometimes drink, so the disease keeps on spreading,” said one of the health workers.

Another added, “Our job involves educating the community on how to prevent cholera and the steps to take when you suspect that you have the disease.”

“My village Betera is the most affected and almost everyone admitted here comes from there, so our hands are full,” added another community health worker.

Manicaland provincial leaders led by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Advocate Misheck Mugadza are working hand in hand with community health workers in conscientising the community on the bacterial disease.

“We are making inroads with our villagers. Most of them now understand the dangers associated with the bacterial disease although here and there we come across some resistance especially among some apostolic sects but slowly, we are getting there,” he said.

55 new suspected cholera cases were recorded this Monday, with 10 of them in Gutu, 26 in Buhera, 10 in Bikita, seven in Chipinge, five from Chiredzi and two from Mutare, bringing cumulative total to 5 030 cases.

4 794 people have recovered, while 97 are hospitalised.

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