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Typhoid under control — minister

29 Dec, 2016 - 00:12 0 Views
Typhoid under control — minister Dr Parirenyatwa

The Herald

Dr Parirenyatwa

Dr Parirenyatwa

Lloyd Gumbo and Innocent Ruwende—

Government says the typhoid outbreak that hit Mbare, Harare, in the last few days is now under control, but urged all residents to be vigilant as they remain under threat of contracting the water-borne disease.This follows the death of 13-year-old Ivy Makwara, who succumbed to suspected typhoid on Christmas Day.

In an interview yesterday after touring Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospitals in Harare where 20 typhoid patients are admitted, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said poor water and sanitation were the major drivers of water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera.

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“As long as we don’t fix that, we will continue to have these diseases coming up and my biggest fear is a cholera outbreak because typhoid is manageable.

“One should not die of typhoid and we very much regret that we lost the 13-year- old.

“The procedure is that when one has typhoid, they must be quickly resuscitated even before transferring them.

“Our team is always ready to move in the moment one falls sick, but we don’t want to get there. As long as water and sanitation is in order, we won’t have these problems. What people should understand is that we will never win this war as long as water and sanitation is not in order.

Dr Parirenyatwa said it was important for local authorities, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and that of Environment, Water and Climate to ensure water and sanitation were beyond reproach.

He said it was gratifying that Harare City Council had immediately come on board to fix sewage pipes in Mbare.

“We found that there were 20 (typhoid) patients admitted at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital, of which 18 of them are from Mbare.

“We are glad that Dr Prosper Chonzi (City’s Health Services director) went to the affected area in Mbare and that the City of Harare is now fixing sewage pipes there. We have also stopped the use of a borehole in Mbare that we suspect is contaminated.

“The City of Harare will also move into Glen View, Budiriro, Mabvuku, Tafara and Hopley, which are potential hotspots to drain and clean the sewage pipes,” said Minister Parirenyatwa.

He said Government together with development partners were already on high alert given that it was the rain season and there was a lot of movement of people.

“We have the Emergency Preparedness and Response Team always on standby in the event of such outbreaks. We also always convene the inter-agents coordinating committee that comprises our ministry, local authorities, the United Nations, World Health Organisation, Unicef, Oxfam and several other agencies to address these problems.

“The good thing is already we have two types of anti-biotics that we always administer to typhoid patients. So I can safely say we are prepared because typhoid is not much of a worry to us since it’s manageable. My major worry is cholera. So once again, we want water and sanitation to be sorted.

Meanwhile, Dr Chonzi said they were expecting results from the laboratory today to confirm the outbreak.

He said the city deployed several teams in Mbare and other western suburbs to disinfect sewer in a bid to avert spreading of suspected typhoid.

City workers were visible in most parts of Mbare where they were using a high velocity truck to open clogged sewer lines.

“The city is investigating a number of cases we suspect to be having typhoid. So far we have 30 suspected cases. This was as a result of the death of a 13-year old who was referred to Beatrice Road Infections Centre from Harare Hospital. They suspected the child to be suffering from typhoid.

“A follow up at her residence revealed that her siblings were also suffering from signs and symptoms of typhoid. We have not yet confirmed that it is typhoid but we are awaiting the laboratory results. We have done blood cultures and we are hoping to have the results later today (yesterday) or tomorrow,” he said.

Dr Chonzi said a lot of effort was being put towards addressing the environmental issues that drive typhoid, particularly in Mbare.

He said water and sanitation, waste management and personal hygiene were the major targets.

“Those are usually the key drivers of typhoid. The areas that we suspect will give us a lot of problems as they are between 8th Street and 9th street in Mbare. Here we have identified a number of challenges to do with sanitation particularly sewer. There is an area where sewerage is overflowing because of the rains.

“We hope that this will be addressed very soon. Our teams are already on the ground both from the Department of Water and Department of Sanitation and health promotion teams are also in the area educating people on personal hygiene and generally good eating practices so that people do not eat food from uninspected or unlicensed premises,” said Dr Chonzi.

Dr Chonzi urged residents to improve their personal hygiene by washing their hands after visiting the toilet and to avoid eating unwashed fruits.

“If people are to drink water from unprotected water sources, they should boil it first or use aqua tablets to treat the water so that they get rid of the bacteria that causes typhoid. We also encourage people to seek medication early,” he said.

He said diarrhoea and typhoid cases were treated for free.

Meanwhile, the city is redesigning the drainage system of the Harare Sunshine Holdings after flooding in areas in and surrounding Mbare.

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