THERE has been a fresh outbreak of typhoid in Harare as the city council battles to address the water crisis which has seen many suburbs going for weeks with dry taps.
BY PHYLIS MBANJE
The latest weekly surveillance report from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, show that 28 cases of typhoid have been reported countrywide, 13 of these in Harare alone.
The erratic supply of running water has resulted in many Harare residents seeking alternative sources which include unsafe water points.
“Most people now rely on water from boreholes, many of which are contaminated. The local authority has also been blamed for not providing necessary health information on safe water sources,” reads the report for week 52.
All the 13 Harare cases were presented at Parirenyatwa hospital.
But the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Zigora last week said the originators of the report were better placed to comment on the issue.
“Like I said last time it is best that you get in touch with the relevant ministry officials and seek clarity on the issue,” he said.
Director of clinical services at Harare hospital George Vera could neither confirm nor deny if they had treated any cases of typhoid saying the report had all the information.
“The said report from which you got the figures should have all the information that you need,” he said.
With schools opening on Tuesday, there are fears that there could be a further spread of the disease which is highly contagious.
The Harare city and many other local authorities are failing to deliver clean and safe drinking water resulting in outbreaks of water-borne diseases like typhoid, dysentery and cholera.
New York based Human Rights Watch last year produced a scathing report on the water situation in Harare. It noted that old and unmaintained pipes and leaks in both the water and sewerage system meant that tap water that did not flow could easily mix with sewage.
In October last year, there were several reported cases of dysentery. During the Christmas holidays residents in most high-density suburbs were without water. Areas like Kuwadzana extension, Cranborne were hardest hit and residents complained that their festivities had been dampened by the lack of water.
Harare city health services director, Dr Prosper Chonzi could not be reached for comment.