11 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Typhoid Epidemic Claims Six in Zimbabwe

Photo: The Guardian
(File photo).

Harare — An outbreak of typhoid has resulted in the deaths of at least six people in disease-prone Zimbabwe. The deaths have been reported from some 83 cases that have been laboratory confirmed this year. There were a total of 2 531 suspected typhoid cases throughout. Several new cases have been confirmed in the capital Harare and Hurungwe district in Mashonaland West province in recent weeks.

Typhoid is spread through contaminated food or water. Symptoms include lasting high fevers, weakness, stomach pains, headache and loss of appetite. Collapsing sanitation systems, particularly in the urban areas, limited access to healthcare and insufficient healthcare infrastructure are blamed for the recurrent outbreaks of diseases in the Southern African country. Between 2008 and 2010, the largest outbreak of cholera ever recorded in Zimbabwe claimed over 4 000 people.

Meanwhile, assessments by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has noted a reduction in acute malnutrition prevalence from 4,4 percent to 3,2 percent in the past year. Matabeleland North had the highest prevalence. There has been a significant decrease in Mashonaland West. The reduction is associated with the implementation of drought response programmes. Government and non-governmental agencies are implementing the schemes focusing mainly on agriculture and food security, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene as well as social protection sectors. Improved harvests also contributed to a reduction in malnutrition rates.

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