Lovemore Meya Herald Correspondent
A health disaster is looming in Chitungwiza’s new Nyatsime suburb as it emerged that thousands of settlers are living in squalid conditions. The settlement has an estimated 15 000 stands not connected to clean water and proper sewer systems.
This has resulted in people using blair toilets and bushes. In an interview yesterday, Chitungwiza Municipality acting director of health services, Dr Herbert Chirowodza, said the situation was getting out of hand.
“Nyatsime area is a serious health threat to Chitungwiza and the population in this town can easily be affected by diseases,” said Dr Chirowodza. “As you are aware, we have more than 15 000 stands there and there are still some squabbles among the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement and the municipality where the ownership of that area has not yet been clarified.
“We cannot move in and set up temporary structures due to the interdict order handed to us while these people do not have the necessary facilities.” He said this was a recipe for diseases outbreak such as typhoid and cholera, which would be difficult to manage. “The situation is quickly going out of hand in Nyatsime. As a City Health Department, we have seen it fit that we have immunisation campaigns in that area.
“The ministry, which is supposed to cover that area is not yet offering any services because they are of the assumption that we (the municipality) will do the provision of health services,” he said.
He said most of these people were frequenting Chitungwiza clinics for medical attention. “They are coming to get health services from our clinics and that can also be seen by the increase in numbers we are receiving. We cannot go there and set up a temporary health facility because it is a land in dispute.
“Since the land is still in the hands of Central Government, it will be idle for the Ministry of Health to come and set up temporary clinics in that area because we have a large population.”
Ministry of Local Government, Public Service and National Housing Permanent Secretary Engineer George Mlilo said Chitungwiza Municipality was welcome for negotiations.
“They (Chitungwiza Municipality) are the ones in authority so they should come forward for suggestions to have health facilities in place,” he said.