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Typhoid major threat to informal sector jobs

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The snails pace of Zimbabwes economic recovery and continued low capacity utilisation in major manufacturing firms is forcing the unemployed to find innovative ways of survival in the informal sector.

However, the recent typhoid outbreak has already left several hundreds of people without a meaningful source of income.

It is ironic that over 300 people at one of Harares popular drive-in joints, Mereki in Warren Park D, were this week rendered jobless, leaving them uncertain of their source of income in the short term.

The reason behind the crackdown on the vendors by Harare City Council was that the vendors were selling fish at the popular open market.

Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi at the weekend said it had been established that fish from dams around Harare carried the infection.

Several people that earn a living through selling fish from Lake Chivero and Manyame Dam told NewsDay yesterday they will not stop selling fish as it was their only source of livelihood.

If I stop selling fish, how will I survive? asked Jonathan Nyamayaro, who operates at a popular joint along the Bulawayo-Harare highway popularly referred to as White House.

There is no other job that I have known since I got retrenched in 2007.

As a result of the exorbitant prices of beef and chicken, most Harare residents have turned to fish as an alternative, given its affordability.

This is the first time we have heard typhoid is caused by fish. We have been selling fish with no problem, said another trader, Nomsa Mashonganyika.

Mashonganyika said on a good day she took home $40 and this line of business had gone a long way in easing her financial situation.

A 20-litre bucket of fish sells for between $20 and $30 on a good day, depending on availability and demand.

Since the outbreak of typhoid a fortnight ago, it has been business as usual for fish vendors, and customers do not seem to be deterred by the increasing number of people that have sought medical attention.

Recent findings by University of Zimbabwe researcher, Maxwell Barson, indicate that nine people in every 1 000 in Harare are at risk of developing colon or liver cancer from eating contaminated fish harvested from Lake Chivero and other water bodies around the capital.

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