‘Cholera death toll not true reflection of lives lost‘

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Humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers says the official death toll from cholera related illnesses is not the true reflection of the deaths on the ground caused by the outbreak.

According to the National Health Department, the confirmed death toll stands at 32, with 29 fatalities in Gauteng, two in Free State, and an additional death recorded in Mpumalanga.

However, Gift of the Givers believes that this is a gross underreporting and that the death rate in Vredefort Free State region is around 10. It says more than 70 individuals in the Vredefort area have been affected by cholera.

The organisation’s Clifford Mabe explains: “We got a call from one of the communities and they were complaining about water and stomach cramps and diarrhoea and we did activate our team on Thursday and came with bottles of water and rehydration sachets and on the ground people were complaining that they are having diarrhoea and stomach cramps which are symptoms of cholera. People were saying that they lost their loved ones due to diarrhoea and stomach cramps. So we still don’t know what is the correct number of the deceased in Vredefort, people are continuing to die with diarrhoea and stomach cramps.”

Cholera deaths under-reported in the Free State: Gift of the Givers:

The Health Department’s Director General, Dr Sandile Buthelezi says while they do not dispute the Gift of the Givers’ claims, they can only confirm laboratory tested cases as official cholera related deaths.

Dr Buthelezi explains: “The difference is that if we have not confirmed the case through the laboratory, which is the National Institute For Communicable Diseases, we can not say that’s a cholera case. But we can say its a suspected cholera case. So we’ve reported all the deaths that we’ve received in the Free State and the eight in particular that have been raised and the additional one that came in yesterday. So according to our records and the information from the hospital only two of the nine cases were confirmed through the laboratory but we have reported on all of them.”

Dr Sandile Buthelezi weighs in on under-reported Cholera deaths in the Free State:

Source of cholera outbreak not determined

Meanwhile, Tshwane’s Executive Mayor, Cilliers Brink, says the source of the cholera outbreak is yet to be determined. He was speaking during a media briefing on Friday. Brink says tests on water supply from the taps show no cholera contamination.

“The number of patients who report cholera symptoms have, according to all indications, started to decline. But, national, provincial and local governments are still to determine the source of the cholera. Even if tap water is not the source of the cholera the outbreak and loss of human life has highlighted, like no other event before, the plight of the people of Hammanskraal.”

Tshwane Executive Mayor Cilliers Brink gives an update on the City’s interventions in the cholera outbreak: