Zimbabwe: Typhoid - Harare Councillors Demand Answers

(File photo).
2 November 2017

Harare councillors have warned of a ravaging typhoid plague in the looming rainy season and demanded that city managers share information on how they are addressing service delivery problems blamed for outbreaks.

The sentiments come as the city council has just managed to curb an outbreak which affected 21 people in the high-density suburb of Mbare.

Councillor Wellington Chikombo said council should be concerned that the outbreak happened just before the rainy season.

"We are treating symptoms without addressing the fundamental issues that are causing the problem," he said.

"Erratic collection of waste, supply of water, poor drainage systems. We can be smiling because we heard three patients who were at Beatrice have been discharged but we are going into a rainy season.

"It's my strong view that this thing is going to come back and haunt us big time. I want to get a report on where we are on plans to arrest these diseases."

Acting town clerk Josephine Ncube said the council has improved on refuse collection, adding that the local authority was also beefing up its refuse trucks vehicles fleet.

Harare was constructing a biogas plant and waste to energy plant to deal with waste management issues as the long-term plants.

In terms of water supply, Ncube said council was replacing underground pipes to reduce leakages, installation of pre-paid water meters and had renovated the Morton Jeffray water station to improve capacity.

On the dilapidated Mbare flats issue she said, the 58 apartments were overcrowded.

"There is a lot of over-crowding, no family units so use communal services. There is a lit vandalism of the pipes but we have requested for money to replace them."

However, Councillor Maseko said contrary to Ncube's claims that sewer pipes in Mbare flats had been vandalised by residents, they were too old and overdue for replacement.

He further said failure by council to strengthen the resilience of Mbare to waterborne diseases by providing quality water and sanitation services would expose the whole nation to the epidemic diseases as the place is busy.

"Those hostels were last serviced in 30 years. With the rains coming the Mbare problem if not addressed all the people in Harare will be ill and the cost will be incomparable. That's where they buy their vegetables," he said.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said there was need to deal with bureaucratic inefficiencies to ensure the local authority is urgently responsive in the event of an outbreak and or in preparation of one.

Councillors said the 25 percent which must be disbursed to districts in line with devolution must be allocated so wards can attend to some of the problems.

Harare residents have endured endless waterborne outbreaks including cholera and typhoid. In 2008 at least 4 500 people succumbed to cholera and since, 2009, a handful of people lose their lives to typhoid

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