Children's Health OurHealth Rural Health Water & Sanitation

Water shortage sparks diarrhoea cases

Written by Tandeka Hlongwane

A recent water shortage in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape and surrounding areas is being blamed for at least four cases of diarrhoea among local children.

A recent water shortage in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape and surrounding areas is being blamed for at least four cases of diarrhoea among local children.

A recent water shortage in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape and surrounding areas is being blamed for at least four cases of diarrhoea among local children.

Lusikisiki and the surrounding areas of Arthur Homes, Newtown, and Joe Slovo and Katilumle informal settlements ran short of clean water for two weeks in early October. Without access to clean water, many people were left to fetch water from local springs or hire cars to collect water from the nearest water plant.

Local Ward Councillor Mandla Thambodala said he had consulted with the sanitation manager of Ingquza Hill Municipality after residents raised their concerns at a community dialogue and said the incident should be a wake up call to the municipality.

“Water pipes were blocked whereas others needed to be changed,” he told OurHealth. “It was sad that people have to fetch water from the spring.”

“This is a wake up call that during this time of the year, infrastructure departments have to maintain infrastructure,” Thambodala added.

At least four children were treated for diarrhoea at St Elizabeth Hospital, including Makhwalo Mndela’s two granddaughters from Katilumle informal settlement. She blamed it on unclean water from local springs.

“The water from the spring is not clean,” Mndela said. “Animals like cows and pigs are drinking at the spring so we are sharing the water.”

The hospital itself suffered a water shortage and management requested water trucks to deliver additional water.

According to the latest District Health Barometer report, more children admitted to hospital with diarrhoea die in the Eastern Cape than anywhere else. The province’s OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Alfred Nzo and Amathole districts recorded the highest number of child deaths due to diarrhoea, according to the Health Systems Trust report.

 

Read more stories from Health-e News’ water investigation: 

About the author

Tandeka Hlongwane

Tandeka Hlongwane is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Eastern Cape's OR Tambo Health District.