4 January 2017

Zimbabwe: Typhoid Menace . . . 76pc Cases Reported in Harare

Photo: The Financial Gazette
Vendors in Harare.

Lloyd Gumbo and Innocent Ruwende — Harare City Council has contributed 76 percent of the overall typhoid cases countrywide with two deaths, 126 suspected and 12 confirmed cases, it has been learnt.

This has led to the establishment of a treatment camp at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare.

Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said, he would meet three other line ministers to come up with ways of averting further typhoid cases.

Harare has confirmed 12 cases as of yesterday, up from seven reported on Sunday.

Minister Parirenyatwa said the treatment camp at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital was meant to admit and manage all cases of typhoid.

"So far, from October 20 last year, Harare has reported 126 suspected cases, 12 confirmed and two deaths," said Minister Parirenyatwa.

"A total of 2 225 suspected cases have been reported nationally, 85 of these were confirmed positive and nine deaths. Harare city has contributed 76 percent of the overall reported cases."

Minister Parirenyatwa advised the public of the typhoid fever in Mbare and the risk of diarrhoea and other enteric diseases such as cholera as the rainy reason continued with heavy rains forecast.

He said the incessant rains have brought about floods in many parts of the country and in Harare where water sources have been contaminated.

To further complicate matters, Minister Parirenyatwa said there has been erratic water supply in some parts of Harare including Mbare, poor refuse collection, numerous sewer blockages and spillages and the increase in travellers using Mbare Musika bus terminus where people arrive and depart to many parts of the country.

He said there was also an abundance of vendors in undesignated areas selling perishable fruits and food supplies generating lots of garbage and leading to hazards of the disease spreading.

To that end, Minister Parirenyatwa said his ministry had put measures in place to ensure that water borne diseases and diarrhoea do not spread.

"Health promoters are in Mbare to raise awareness on disease prevention and control and there is increased surveillance for diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever.

"All our Rapid Response Teams at all levels are ready to respond to disease outbreaks so that they respond early within 48 hours of a disease being reported and work hard to control outbreaks within two weeks to avoid the spread of the outbreak to other areas," he said.

Minister Parirenyatwa said a number of measures should be taken to avoid the spread of diarrhoea and other water borne diseases, among them avoiding drinking water from unsafe sources, boiling water from unprotected sources, using water purification chemicals and washing hands with soap or ash under running water before handling food.

He said he would meet his counterparts -- Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Water, Environment and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Small to Medium and Co-operative Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni -- to come up with ways of combating the outbreak.

Harare started laying new water pipes in Mbare over the weekend in an attempt to supply clean water and contain the typhoid outbreak.

Council has already moved into Glen View, Budiriro, Mabvuku, Tafara and Hopley, which are potential hotspots, to drain and clean the sewer pipes.

Ivy Makwara (13) was the first victim of typhoid in Harare after she died on Christmas Day followed by the death of a 33-year-old man over the weekend.

Harare City Council Health Services director, Dr Prosper Chonzi said council expects to have an upsurge in the number of people visiting its institutions as typhoid has a 21-day incubation period.

He reiterated the need for residents to improve their personal hygiene by washing their hands after visiting the toilet and to avoid eating unwashed fruits.

Dr Chonzi reiterated that if people were to drink water from unprotected water sources, they should boil it first or use aqua tablets so that they get rid of the bacteria that causes typhoid.

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