MUTARE City Council’s health department has raised alarm bells and activated its disease surveillance system after it recorded one case of typhoid this week.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
This came as the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) accused the government and Harare City Council of failing to come up with sustainable intervention measures to curb the typhoid outbreak.
Mathew Chiduka, a senior official at Mutare council’s health department, told management on Tuesday that the city was now on high alert for the waterborne disease, which has claimed two lives in Harare and left dozens others hospitalised.
“So far, we have one case of typhoid, but it was not contracted in our city, it was someone, who was coming from somewhere. We are doing samples of all people with diarrhoea. We already have some drugs to treat the disease, but we have also compiled a list of drugs we need.
“We don’t have any problems with our water, but maybe food. If we exercise proper hygiene, we have nothing to worry about,’’ he said.
Councillors proposed that the local authority wants a roadblock at Christmas Pass to screen all travellers from Harare and ensure all suspected cases get emergency treatment.
During the same meeting, councillors and management heard that only two of the council’s fleet of refuse trucks were operating, posing a major health hazard, as garbage collection has been compromised.
ZADHR executive director, Calvin Fambirai, in a statement yesterday, expressed concern over government’s failure to prioritise safe, clean water and environment as key components of a strong primary healthcare system.
“While acknowledging the efforts by the authorities to date in responding to the outbreak, we remain unsatisfied with level of intervention, which, though important at curative stage, fails to acknowledge and introspect into the actual causes of the outbreak,” he said.
“ZADHR further contends that the typhoid outbreak must allow residents to take stock of their local authorities and also the negligence of supervision by central government. In so doing, we call upon the residents and ratepayers to continue being engaged and demand responsiveness, transparency and accountability from the council. This action must include, but not limited to, class actions.”