Midlands Provincial Affairs minister, Owen Ncube yesterday revealed that government has engaged State security instruments to effect a combined blitz with municipal cops to flush out illegal vendors in a bid to avoid the spread of typhoid in the city, which has so far claimed seven lives.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting attended by Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa in Gweru, to discuss progress on the water borne disease, Ncube said his office has since written to the Joint Operations Command (JOC) to avail manpower to evict vendors.
“The provincial administrator (Abiot Maronge) has since written to the JOC chair to assist the municipal police in evicting vendors,” Ncube said.
“We can’t have people dying (of typhoid) because of vending. Yes, there is need to engage them (vendors), but we are faced with a crisis and there is need to be a bit hard on them. We have to remove the vendors from the streets until the disease in contained.”
Ncube’s position came amid reports of suspected cases of typhoid spreading to other parts of the province that include Kwekwe, Mberengwa and Zvishavane.
Midlands provincial medical director, Simon Nyadundu said although there was no confirmation that the cases in the three areas (Kwekwe, Mberengwa and Kwekwe) could be typhoid, health officials have since been dispatched to investigate the reports.
According to statistics from the provincial health ministry, seven people have since died from the disease following its outbreak in parts of Mkoba high-density surburbs a few weeks ago.
Latest data show that 1 330 people have been treated of suspected typhoid as stakeholders in the Midlands capital continue make efforts to contain the disease.
Parirenyatwa urged all stakeholders to move in unison to fight against the spread of typhoid in the city so that it could be “arrested” as a matter of urgency.