Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent—
Government yesterday condemned the Harare City Council’s 48-hour ultimatum on food vendors to move off the streets under the pretext to curb the spread of typhoid, saying banning the vendors without improving on service delivery was a waste of time and resources.
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said in an interview that poor service delivery by the local authority had contributed to the spread of several water bone diseases.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said food vendors alone should not be the main focus, as there were necessary steps that the city council had to do to permanently avert the outbreak and rapid spread of water borne diseases.
“We need a cocktail of solutions if we are ever going to win the war against vendors and environment hazards across the country,” she said. “There is no harm that vendors in their own right cause and giving them a 48-hour ultimatum should be one of the many solutions.
“It all boils down to service delivery, right from inadequate toilet facilities, bins, individual littering, all this needs to be catered for, hence it doesn’t necessarily mean all blame is on the food vendors.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the 48-hour ultimatum that ends today could only be used to avert the immediate crisis, not a long term sustainable plan.
She bemoaned poor drainage facilities across the country, saying there was need to widen the net of solutions to deal with population growth and poor urban planning.
“Underground water contamination is high and council should ensure sprouting locations have sewer systems and good ablution services, they should put mechanisms to deal with population growth or else environmental health hazard remains a problem,” Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
“Council needs to be up to scratch in dealing with the impact of population growth, they should position themselves to deal with demands that come with population growth, including more toilets, well kept drainage systems and good waste management plans.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said with over 60 000 litterbugs that were fined in the past year, Government policies should be taken seriously to avoid the society’s ignorance on littering to curb health and environmental health hazards.
Director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care responsible for Epidemiology and Disease Control Dr Portia Manangazira said in an interview that the outbreak was an indication of serious unhygienic conditions that needed urgent attention.
“Typhoid is only identified in areas with poor water sanitation and inadequate hygienic services,” she said. “Harare is at 53 percent safe water coverage against 80 percent and above, which is required to avoid typhoid and cholera outbreaks.”