Typhoid and cholera outbreak a clarion call for the new government to act

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) bemoans the death of at least five (5) people from cholera in Chegutu and reported cases of typhoid in Harare.

AS ZADHR we continue to urge local authorities and the government to institute far reaching reforms to the social service delivery sector in Zimbabwe. We believe paying attention to increasing financing to water, sanitation and hygiene and more particularly on infrastructure revamping, purchase of water purification equipment and consumable will go a long way in bringing recurrence of these water borne diseases to an end. As it stands, the current outbreaks are a testament to exposure of communities to unsafe and unclean water and environment which in themselves threaten the viability of the healthcare system.

Also, the outbreaks are a call to the government, particularly in its infancy to build a legacy of commitment to ending the continued outbreaks of these archaic diseases. In so doing, the central government should compel local authorities to prioritize access to clean, safe and potable water by residents through increasing spending towards capital investments as opposed to the current allocation of 90% of municipality budgets to recurrent expenditure. Municipal authorities’ expenses should be closely monitored and guided to avoid abuse. It therefore calls for strengthening of oversight mechanisms by the central government to ensure more resources are channeled towards key and strategic services such as clean and potable water.

In the new dispensation where the government has committed to opening doors for engagement and strengthening of relations with all stakeholders, ZADHR further calls upon the government to lead responsive coordinated multi-sectoral approaches to the challenges for long term sustainable solutions. The situation in Harare and Chegutu demands an urgent all stakeholders meeting and response to avoid further loss of life.

ZADHR urges communities and individuals to exercise good personal hygiene such as handwashing to enhance both community and personal health.

Source: Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights