Government sets typhoid task force

By Helen Kadirire

Government has set up an inter-ministerial task-force to deal with Harare’s typhoid outbreak.

David Parirenyatwa
David Parirenyatwa

The task-force will include officials from Harare City Council (HCC) and the ministries of Health, Environment, Local Government and Small and Medium enterprises.

Typhoid, caused by the salmonella typhi bacteria, is a waterborne disease which spreads through contaminated water and poor sanitation facilities.

Since October 2016, there have been 126 reported cases of people infected by the disease while 12 were confirmed, with 18 people currently admitted at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The task-force will, among other preventive measures, clamp down on uncontrolled vending of foodstuffs on the streets.

“There is no way we can contain typhoid when people are selling fish, chicken and other foods which easily perish. That should stop. We know the economy is bad but it is better to have healthy people looking for a livelihood than unhealthy people doing the same,” HCC’s Health director Prosper Chonzi said.

He said authorities were prepared to be unpopular by banning the sale of food stuffs before the typhoid outbreak escalates to become a cholera crisis.

HCC already has a by-law that regulates against the sale of foodstuffs on the streets, but the enforcement lacks.

“Of course we have our municipal police, however, we cannot enforce the by-laws on our own and as such we need other State agents such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police to assist in enforcement. We may also need other uniformed forces to get rid of some of the conditions that encourage the spread of typhoid,” Chonzi said.

“We must address the environmental issues that are fuelling this typhoid outbreak. We do not want a situation whereby someone is treated and goes back into the community to be re-infected,” he said.

This comes as Health minister, David Parirenyatwa, this week warned that Harare boreholes water could be contaminated and advised that they be tested. Daily News