CASES of diarrhoea are on the increase in Zimbabwe owing to the deteriorating sanitation conditions in the country, Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera has said.
Report by Garikai Tunhira
Giving an update on the outbreaks of typhoid, cholera and diarrhoeal diseases in Harare on Tuesday, the minister said the majority of cases and deaths had been recorded among children under the age of five.
Madzorera said it would be difficult with the high number of diarrhoea cases to meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal number four and urged communities to take caution during the rainy season.
“As we approach the critical period which will coincide with the festive season, I remind all Zimbabweans to take extra caution to avoid falling victim to typhoid, cholera and other enteric diseases,” he said.
“The determinants of these preventable, but highly transmissible and fatal diseases remain largely unaddressed in that sustained provision of adequate and safe water is not guaranteed for both urban and rural communities.
“Sewerage and solid waste is also poorly processed and managed in all the major urban areas.”
Statistics presented by Madzorera showed that there were 6 000 cases of diarrhoea in 2010, increasing to 10 000 the following year, while this year 12 500 cases had been recorded.
Among the key drivers of the outbreaks is unregulated food vending, poor personal and community hygiene, poor solid waste management, sewerage bursts and shortages of household water.
In marking its 10th anniversary last week, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) expressed concern over the deterioration of services in the country and failure by the government to address health issues.
“ZADHR calls to attention the state of the public service delivery system. The public service delivery system is in urgent need of attention,” the doctors said.
“It (government) is fraught with glaring failures to ensure access to safe, portable water and proper sanitation to all its citizens and has put thousands of lives at risk from diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera in 2008 and typhoid in 2011/12.”