Water shortage triggers typhoid in Harare

Water shortage triggers typhoid in Harare

Saturday, January 30, 2016 9:11 am

Harare residents desperate to fetch just any water

Harare residents desperate to fetch just any water

Health officials in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, have detected several cases of typhoid fever in the past week, adding to fears that a water crisis will fuel the spread of infectious diseases.

The city’s health director, Prosper Chonzi, said six cases of typhoid had been confirmed, with more expected to emerge.

“The conditions on the ground – frequent water cuts and poor sanitation – are conducive to a typhoid outbreak,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Last year, more than 40 people in Harare were hospitalised due to typhoid, a bacteral infection that causes fever, headaches and constipation or diarrhoea.

Health officials have been deployed to affected areas including Hopley, a sprawling township without sewers and tap water, to contain the situation and identify suspected cases.

“As long as there is no constant supply of water to residents, we will continue to have sporadic cases of such outbreaks,” Chonzi warned.

Separately, at Roosevelt High School, nearly 50 students were recently hospitalised due to shigellosis, a diarrhoeal disease that thrives in places with poor water and sanitation.

In Zimbabwe’s biggest referral hospital Parirenyatwa, a 32-year-old nurse who did not want to be named, said she feared the city’s worsening water problems could lead to her own two young children falling sick with a deadly waterborne disease.


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