Poor hygiene blamed for E Cape diarrhoea deaths

Poor hygiene may have caused the diarrhoea outbreaks that killed nine babies in the Ndlambe municipal area in the Eastern Cape over the past three months, government departments said on Friday.

The Water Affairs Department said although there had been poor water quality, particularly in the Alexandria and Vincel Park areas, this was neither “excessive” nor “severe enough” to cause diarrhoea outbreaks.

“Poor hygiene, poor water quality, malnutrition and many other factors associated with poverty can contribute to cases of this nature,” read a joint statement from the departments of health and water affairs on the deaths.

Speaking at the handing over of a water and sanitation project at Krwakrwa Clinic in the Eastern Cape, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Water Affairs Minister Lindiwe Hendricks and provincial minister of health Nomusa Jajula expressed their condolences to the families of the nine babies who died.

The two departments’ intervention plans included health and hygiene awareness campaigns, particularly where rain water or roof tanks were used for water consumption; closer attention to disinfection; and evaluation the ability of water service authorities to manage the quality of drinking water.—Sapa

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