Typhoid fears rise in Harare

THIRTY-NINE new suspected cases of typhoid have been reported in the country amid fears of a major outbreak of the disease, it has emerged.


According to a weekly surveillance report from the ministry of Health and Child Care for week ending March 23,the country continued to witness an increasing number of suspected cases of typhoid every week.

The report said of the 39 new suspected typhoid cases reported in the one week, 26 were in Harare alone.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 18 confirmed cases of typhoid, 181 suspected cases and three deaths.

Harare’s director of health services, Dr Prosper Chonzi said the number could be higher due to the current water crisis in the city which is favourable to typhoid outbreaks.

“Although the numbers might seem modest, we could be sitting on a time bomb because the current conditions of erratic water supplies are very conducive to outbreaks of water borne diseases like typhoid,” he said.

“We should not get comfortable in the face of such circumstances because the situation could turn ugly.”

Chonzi said all efforts to contain the disease would be difficult as long as the water situation did not improve.

Most high density surbubs like Mabvuku, Kuwadzana, and Warren Park have gone for weeks and sometimes months without water. This has forced residents to resort to other sources of water which are not always clean and safe.

Kuwadzana Extension is one of the hardest hit areas where residents have not had water for more than two months. Residents are now getting water from unprotected wells, fountains and makeshift boreholes.

Critical areas like hospital have not been spared the water shortages. Recently the chief executive officer of Parirenyatwa Hospital, Thomas Zigora told the parliamentary portfolio committee on health that service delivery at the hospital was being compromised by water shortages.

Contacted for comment, Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi said he was busy with some investors and would not be able to take questions.

However on Wednesday during a tour of the Morton Jaffray water works, Mahachi announced that there would be a massive pipe replacement programme in the next two months.

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