A Masvingo prisoner reportedly died from dysentery at Mutimurefu Prison about 25km east of Masvingo town following an outbreak that saw 130 inmates and 39 prison guards being treated for the water-borne disease.
The deceased was identified as 71-year-old Robert Nyamunda from Mwenezi district.
The outbreak is believed to have been caused by water shortages at the prison, which is said to be overcrowded.
Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) public relations officer for Masvingo and the Midlands, Jere Ruzive, confirmed the outbreak of dysentery, but denied that Nyamunda died from the disease.
“Yes, there was an outbreak last week due to water shortages,” Ruzive said.
“As you know, prisons accommodate a lot of people and so there has to be adequate and consistent water supplies. Some people from the surrounding community contracted the disease as well,” Ruzive said.
“Concerning Nyamunda’s death, it was due to other causes at a time when there was an outbreak of the disease. He had always been ill ever since he came to the prison.”
Provincial epidemiology and disease control officer in the Health and Childcare ministry Amades Shamu confirmed receiving a report on the outbreak of dysentery at the prison, but said the situation was under control.
“It is true that we have received the report, but the situation is under control now,” Shamu said.
He said he had dispatched a team from the ministry’s district offices to establish the cause of the outbreak.
The Red Cross and Zimbabwe National Water Agency are also assessing the situation.