Typhoid Outbreak Spreading In Zimbabwe; Officials Working To Improve Sanitation, Drug Supply

“A typhoid outbreak that began in Harare last year is steadily spreading across Zimbabwe with more than 3,000 cases reported although only one death due to the disease has been reported so far, health officials have said,” ZimOnline reports (Marimudza, 2/29). “We have reported 203 new typhoid cases this week only … So we actually have an outbreak that is raging,” Ministry of Health Epidemiology and Disease Control Director Portia Manangazira told VOA News, according to the news service (Gonda/Chifera, 2/28). Speaking to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare on Tuesday, Manangazira “said the ministry did not have adequate supply of drugs for patients,” NewsDay notes (Chidavaenzi, 2/29).

“Manangazira said apart from typhoid there has been an upsurge in common diarrhea largely due to poor sanitation and the continuing failure by towns and cities to provide clean water and manage their sewage treatment and garbage collection,” VOA writes, adding that the government and UNICEF “have extended an emergency program to help local government rehabilitate water and treatment systems” (2/28). “Health experts have warned that Zimbabwe remains at risk of another major outbreak of waterborne diseases because the same problems that helped drive the last cholera epidemic remain unresolved, with six million people or half of the country’s total population of 12 million people with little or no access to safe water and sanitation,” ZimOnline writes (2/29).