Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo on Friday lamented lack of water security in most urban centres, saying this exposed residents to waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
BY SILAS NKALA
Addressing the 2018 water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) conference in Bulawayo on Friday, Moyo said the lack of water security was a result of inadequate water supplies in urban centres.
“We must address the current urban water security challenge, whereby water supply as we talk is hardly enough to last beyond December. Water management and supply remains poor in Harare and most urban areas. You have heard about Gweru’s incapacity to manage water reticulation,” Moyo said.
“There is considerable ground water pollution, unregistered borehole drilling and the results have been telling in the country’s epidemiology, whereby we have had to introduce vaccination for both cholera and typhoid as these primary measures had failed.”
Moyo said short-term interventions such as distribution of hygiene kits, water-point repairs, bucket chlorination, installation of in-line chlorinators, trucking of water were only a stop-gap measure, hence the relevance of the conference to seek to address the challenges once and for all.
“In addition, my ministry advocates for the promotion of food hygiene, availability of hand-washing facilities, especially in markets, bus termini, churches and other points of community convergence. We are only settled when there have been enough efforts to ensure availability of continuous supply of safe water in all urban areas,” he said.
“Meanwhile, in response to the ongoing disease outbreaks, my teams have been identifying potential hotspots and high risk areas for prepositioning of emergency health and Wash stocks. We have in our intermediate plans, the upgrade of the four infectious diseases hospitals to be in line with the upper middle income status by 2030 and for cholera elimination by 2030 and advanced plans to introduce a national cleaning day.”
He encouraged discussions and exploration of all possible interventions that will see the country achieving zero numbers for water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Moyo said the country recently recorded almost 10 000 suspected cases of cholera largely in Harare, 267 of them were confirmed vibrio cholera.
He said 55 lives were lost to the disease, six of them outside Harare. Most of the deaths, Moyo said, occurred at health institutions while the patients were being attended to.