ZIMBABWE – One person died of typhoid in Hopley area as water shortage continues to affect some parts of the city, Harare City Health director Dr Prosper Chonzi, confirmed yesterday.
Dr Chonzi said 23 cases of typhoid out of 245 suspected cases across western suburbs such as Glen Norah, Hopley, Kuwadzana and Budiriro were confirmed.
“As of yesterday, we had 23 concerned cases of typhoid and 245 suspected cases whilst one person (15 year old child) died of the outbreak in Hopley,” he said.
“All these cases are still from the same areas previously affected including Hopley, Glen Norah, Budiriro, Kuwadzana and Mabvuku where one concerned case was recently reported.”
Dr Chonzi blamed the increase on water shortages and poor sanitation in residential areas.
“The lack of consistent water supplies and sanitation issues remain one of our major challenges in trying to curb the rise of typhoid,” he said.
“The lack of adequate water provisions, the digging of shallow wells in western suburbs as well as the issues of pit latrines continues to increase the levels of water contamination across the city.”
Dr Chonzi added: “We are working as a corporate body to try and address the issues of water and sanitation in the city and right now we are engaged in serious campaigns to educate the public on the dangers of an outbreak if we fail to contain it.”
He said council clinics would continue offering free medication for all typhoid related cases.
“We are continuously offering free medication to typhoid related cases and our clinics are open to everyone for free pills and tablets,” Dr Chonzi said.
“I am pleading with people to go to their nearest clinics earlier to report on any general symptoms of typhoid, we should not wait for the situation to get worse as that has dire outcomes including deaths.”
He said the constant supply of water schedules would ensure people’s preparedness to constant water shortages.
“The current water cuts by the city are a necessary process but with the help of the well communicated water schedules high density areas will be informed well before water supplies are cut,” he said.
“We urge residents to store as much water for their domestic purposes as possible and it is a constant reminder that water should be treated before drinking and our clinics are at your disposal for free tablets to any typhoid related medication.”
Dr Chonzi said Mukuvisi and Manyame areas were feared to be some of the typhoid breeding areas.
“Although no typhoid cases may have been reported in areas around Mukuvisi and Manyame, we fear that these are some of the breeding areas,” he said.
Dr Chonzi urged residents to continue basic hygiene practices such as washing hands before meals, eating food while it is still hot and treating all domestic water at point of use considering warnings of heavy rainfall in the city.
Hopley remained a cause for concern because of its proximity to Mbudzi roundabout where a lot of commercial, retailing and vending activities under unhygienic conditions are rampant.