Zimbabwe

Harare typhoid cases continue to rise

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Cases of typhoid are continuing to rise in Harare, where at least 90 people have been hospitalised and more than a thousand are suspected to have contracted the disease.

by Alex Bell

Residents in and around the capital have been on high alert since the first typhoid cases were confirmed last year. But in recent months, the combination of extreme heat, summer rains and dilapidated basic municipal services, has resulted in perfect conditions for the disease to spread

"We have attended to over 600 cases in Kuwadzana alone," city health director Prosper Chonzi was quoted as saying in the state media this week. The MDC-T meanwhile said on Wednesday that more than one thousand Harare residents had been treated this month.

The bacterial disease, which spreads most easily in areas without proper sanitation, causes vomiting, fever and diarrhoea and the public have been urged to use good hygiene to prevent the situation from worsening.

The city and surrounding areas have been struck by severe water shortages since last year, with some areas not being supplied with clean water for many weeks. The shortages have sometimes resulted in residents fighting each other while trying to access water from the limited number of boreholes across the city.

The boreholes were sunk back in 2008 when a devastating outbreak of cholera swept through the city. The worst affected areas were Glen Norah, Budiriro and Glen View, and once again these areas are facing serious water shortages.

Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that the City Council has been unable to deal with the problems which have led to the disease spreading.

“We have piles of uncollected refuse, burst sewers everywhere,” Moyo said, adding: “The Council now faces a mountainous task of keeping the disease under control.”

He explained that the Council urgently needs to start clearing the refuse off the city streets and sorting out the broken down sewerage systems. He added that even just a simple public education exercise on the threats of the disease would be welcome.

Meanwhile Finance Minister Tendai Biti said in a press conference on Wednesday that money will be funneled towards supporting local councils, like in Harare. Biti announced that over US$100 million will be set aside to finance ‘priority’ projects, which could not be accommodated for in his 2012 budget.

Addressing his first Treasury media briefing of the year Biti said most of the new financial allocation will be used to improve service delivery, such as water reticulation and energy. Money is also being set aside for sectors like manufacturing and agriculture. - SW Radio Africa News