Typhoid outbreak causing havoc in Harare
Typhoid is wreaking havoc in the capital, Harare, with 19 new suspected cases having been recorded this week.
This comes after 63 suspected cases were recently recorded in Glen Norah’s high-density suburb, while other cases were reported in Glen View and Budiriro among other high-density suburbs.
Residential areas have been receiving erratic water supplies from the council due to incessant power cuts as well as the unavailability of water treatment chemicals.
According to the Ministry of Health’s weekly Disease Surveillance Report yesterday, the cumulative figure for typhoid infections now stands at 28 and no deaths have been recorded.
Nineteen new suspected typhoid cases were reported this week. The suspected typhoid cases were reported from Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (7), South Eastern District (5), South Western District (4) and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals (3) in Harare province. The cumulative figure for typhoid is 28 cases and zero deaths,” the report read.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enock Dongo blamed the Harare City Council (HCC) for failing to improve service delivery.
“This means we are still lagging behind as a country in terms of sanitation. The HCC has to improve in terms of provision of clean water as well as making sure that they collect garbage. They must repair burst sewer pipes. Due to lack of clean water running into our taps, people have resorted to unsafe sources of water. So, the whole blame is going to the City of Harare at a larger scale. But we also encourage the people to practise cleanliness,” Dongo said.
Community Water Alliance’s research, information and advocacy officer Sharon Kaseke said they were saddened by the deterioration of service delivery standards in Harare.
She said council had failed to serve residents, especially in terms of sewers, given that water-borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera plague thrive under unhygienic conditions.
“As the Community Water Alliance, we are asking the City of Harare to improve service delivery in line with constitutional provisions and international standards,” she said.
Kaseke said unsafe environments continue to be a health threat, particularly for poor households.
“The government should seriously consider introducing the typhoid vaccine especially to those urban local authorities that are struggling to deal with the scourge of typhoid fever. The government should also make sure that the typhoid vaccine is incorporated into the expanded programme on immunisation because children are a key population in typhoid fever management and control.”
Harare mayor Jacob Mafume said council was now considering adopting waste management and clean water models to lessen incidents of water-borne diseases.
Recently, the local authority decommissioned 15 boreholes after some of them were found to be contaminated with faecal matter.
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