Harare battles typhoid outbreaks

HARARE - Typhoid has continued to break out in Harare, the Health and Child Care ministry said in a notice, warning of further disease outbreaks unless sanitation is restored in the capital currently under appalling conditions. At least 646 cases of typhoid were confirmed by the ministry, and its epicentre is Mbare.

The first case of typhoid fever was confirmed on September 17, 2017 and the outbreak was detected in one of the oldest commercial suburbs of Mbare on October 1, 2017.

Typhoid is contracted by drinking or eating contaminated matter and symptoms include nausea, fever, and abdominal pain.

If  untreated, the disease can lead to complications in the gut and head which can kill up to one in five patients.

The ongoing typhoid fever outbreak in Harare has been attributed to an acute shortage of potable water in the affected communities.

Matapi Flats in Mbare, where the outbreak originated, reportedly had no water supply two weeks prior to the onset of the outbreak.

“One hundred new suspected typhoid cases and no deaths were reported during the week ending November 19, 2017.

“The cases were reported from Harare City Health (100).

“The total number this year for typhoid is 646 suspected cases and no deaths.

“The outbreak started on October 1, 2017,” the Health and Child Care ministry said in a notice.

This comes as Harare City Council recently decommissioned two boreholes in Mbare and Kuwadzana 3 after they tested positive for E coli, a bacteria that causes typhoid.

In a bid to alleviate the water borne diseases, government has set out to drill at least 840 boreholes at a cost of $4,5 million across the country within the next three months.

The programme is aimed at improving sanitation and access to better water for Zimbabwean communities in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulations.

Addressing journalists in Harare on Monday, Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said four boreholes will be drilled in each of Zimbabwe’s legislative constituencies, with Members of Parliament being asked to submit four top priority areas in their respective constituencies to the ministry for immediate action.