Taskforce revived to mitigate typhoid outbreak

HARARE - Government has revived a taskforce to mitigate a fatal outbreak of typhoid and diarrhoea that has hit Harare and other parts of the country.

The Prevention of Typhoid and Cholera taskforce had gone on sleeping mode after a significant decline in recorded cases mid this year.

Zimbabwe has over the last four years perennially suffered from unprecedented outbreaks of waterborne diseases and relevant stakeholders have admitted this is a result of the lack of safe water and proper waste management.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo said the taskforce has been strategically reactivated to monitor waste management, the provision of clean water and maintenance of sewer infrastructure.

“As a parent ministry, it is our mandate to ensure that local authorities are in a position to protect citizens they serve. The team starts work today because we want action taken and taken quickly considering the rain season has already commenced,” said Chombo.

Deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Justin Mupamhanga chairs the taskforce while Chombo heads a cluster of ministries dealing with the scourge.

Harare and Bulawayo are the primary targets for redress, he said.

The ministries of Defence, Health, Transport, Youth, Women’s Affairs, Finance, Water, Home Affairs, Information and Publicity and Environment make the cluster.

Residents associations such as the Harare Residents Trust are part of the cluster.

“We have included the ministry of Defence because they have so much equipment which we can borrow. But because they are particular, they would want to drive their own vehicles,” said Chombo.

Latest statistics released by the City of Harare and the Health ministry show that as of Monday, Harare had recorded 937 new cases of typhoid with four fatalities in less than 40 days while common diarrhoea has claimed 265 lives out of 428 894 cases since January.

Resumption of regular refuse collection, separation of waste at source, private-public partnerships and roping in the Environmental Management Agency are some of the strategies that Chombo said were being implemented. - Wendy Muperi

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