Little did she know that she was afflicted with typhoid and casually blamed the water she drank for her ailments.
Her child’s high fever forced her to seek medical treatment and fortunately for both of them, it was not too late.
With sunken eyes, bony cheeks and a sickly body, Kaseke says she is lucky that she lived to tell her story.
“I have regular stomach cramps, but that Tuesday it wasn’t the usual, it came with force and was gone in a flash. After that, I rushed to the toilet several times, vomiting and passing stools, it was very bad,” she said.
“My child was the most affected, I was not prepared for what I saw.”
Kaseke is one of several patients that have visited the Kuwadzana polyclinic, which is the epicentre of the dreaded disease.
Tents have been put up outside the clinic and residents are literally teeming at the clinic grounds.
Kaseke says she expected the council to have learnt from past mistakes, but residents of Kuwadzana still go for days without water.
“We get medicine from Unicef who have been helpful after we were discharged from hospital. It is costly to spend a night in hospital, worse still if you don’t get any assistance,” she said.
Typhoid not restricted to Kuwadzana
Suburbs such as Whitecliff, Dzivarasekwa, Kambuzuma and Warren Park have also been hit by the outbreak.
For many, this is a reminder of the deadly cholera epidemic that struck not so long ago. While no fatalities have been recorded, the similarities with the cholera outbreak of 2008 are too glaring to ignore.
Both diseases are caused by poor hygiene and the lack of clean water.
Health authorities warn of devastation, city council struggles
Zimbabwean health authorities have reported that Harare is under siege from the biggest typhoid outbreak in recent history, which might sweep across the country with devastating effect, if it goes unchecked.
City health director, Prosper Chonzi said more than 800 patients had been treated for the disease, though he expected more to have sought treatment over the weekend. “We are not on top of the situation but we are facing a number of challenges such as garbage removal from the areas. as for water, we have maintained constant supply in the affected areas,” he said.
“We are still addressing the issue, especially the illegal vendors who promote the spread of diseases. They are to be dealt with, action will be taken to remove them from the streets.” But while authorities haggle over the situation, the outbreak serves as a reminder of the poor water infrastructure.
Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda urged residents to practise good hygiene to prevent diseases and to desist from buying from illegal stalls sprouting in most suburbs in the city.