Zimbabwe's government has this week come under more pressure to urgently deal with the ongoing threat of typhoid, which continues to affect hundreds of people across the country.
Most recently a fresh outbreak of typhoid has been reported in Chitungwiza and in parts of Harare, and at least 112 cases have been reported. The local council has been blamed for failing to deal with issues of sewerage management and access to clean water.
Typhoid has been reported in Zimbabwe since last year and the worst affected have been the densely populated areas around Harare's centre, including Kuwadzana and Mufakose. That outbreak threatened to spread across the country, after cases were confirmed in Bindura, Mashonaland Central and Norton and Zvimba in Mashonaland West.
In February the Health Ministry admitted it was not on top of the situation, with a critical lack of medicine and clean water hampering treatment and prevention efforts. For areas like Chitungwiza, where sewerage problems and a lack of clean water have been major problems for years, the threat of an outbreak seemed imminent.
Civil society groups have now banded together to pressure the higher levels of government to do more, with a petition being handed Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, as well as the ministries of Local Government, Water Resources Development and Health and Child Welfare. The petition is also addressed to the Mayors of Harare and Chitungwiza.
"We, the undersigned citizens and represented Civil Society Organisations, do hereby petition the Government of Zimbabwe through the relevant ministries and local authorities to immediately set up effective strategies to address the recurring problems of the outbreak of the typhoid fever and cholera in Zimbabwe," read part of the petition.
Addressing a press conference in Harare on Wednesday Abel Chikomo, the Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said they had so far gathered 1,795 signatures from concerned Zimbabweans. The target is to collect a million signatures.
Civil society has also demanded that the government immediately set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the outbreaks throughout the country and recommend solutions to end to the problem. The government is also being pressured to come up with long term strategies that include a clear plan to provide clean water, and to disperse necessary funds and technical resources.