INCOMING Health and Child Care minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo says government will soon engage the Zimbabwe Republic Police to remove vendors in Budiriro and Glen View to reduce the spread of Cholera.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Addressing Journalists at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital , Dr Moyo said the vendor effect could not be ignored anymore following indications that over 2 400 cases and 20 deaths have been reported with Glen View and Budiriro being declared emergency disaster areas as they have the highest numbers.
The epicentre of this cholera outbreak, Budiriro and Glen View has sites where fishmongers ply their trade.
“The other major problem is that of vending. There are those selling meat and fish in the area under concern and we have agreed with the mayor that we are going to be policing the area very strictly.
“And I understand they have started vending their meat and fish at night. We are going to request for assistance from the ZRP to ensure that the policing will be very very strict and we stop the meat and fish vending in the area. We are looking at the situation of improving the services and be able to stop the deaths. There should never be deaths as a result of cholera.”
He also took a jab at Harare City administration for leaving burst sewers unattended till the cholera ravaged the areas.
“We wanted to look at the problems. Why, have we ended up in a situation of this nature. We realised someone was probably sitting on the job and doing their work. And this is one of the issues we want to address in Zimbabwe as a whole as the Ministry of Health.
“We want to make sure that people work and not sit on their laurels. In this particular case, the City of Harare has had a big problem. This problem has arisen as a result of blocked sewers. These were reported and never repaired for at least two months. For two months the work was not done.
“There was no repair. Now we have ended up with the whole Glen View and Budiriro area affected. As we speak Im told by the mayor they are busy repairing the blocked sewers. They are unblocking the sewers,” he said.
New Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba refused to comment on police being deployed to deal with vendors.
“I cannot speak for the minister. I kindly ask you to assess the area and get the necessary reports which indicate that the root cause was basically because of that,” he said.
Mayor Gomba argued that blocked sewers were not the root cause to the cholera outbreak.
“An assessment was not done to say blocked pipes were the root cause. What we know is that people drank water at a source in Glen View. That’s my understanding on the whole problem. They drank water from an unprotected well, a borehole at Tichagarika. Its there for you to go visit and see,” he said.
He explained that the City will replace water pipes in affected and surrounding areas.
“On our part as the City we are going to be doing pipe replacement programs in the western suburbs. We are engaging private companies to enter into a joint venture,” said the Mayor.