FOLLOWING the resurgence of Typhoid, the City of Harare recently decommissioned three water boreholes linked to the recent surge in infections in some parts of Harare.
By Michael Gwarisa
The Typhoid outbreak was reported in December last year (2022) in the Western suburbs of Harare mainly in children below the age of five.
Speaking in an interview with HealthTimes, Dr Michael Vere, the Epidemiology and Disease Control Officer in the City of Harare said they have recorded 80 Typhoid cases to date with Glen Norah being the most affected.
Glen Norahh is contributing 60 percent of the cases. The total number of Typhoid we have recorded so far is 89 of which 20 of those 89 are confirmed cases, the rest are suspected cases,” said Dr Vere.
“What we have done so far is we have managed to find what the sources of these outbreaks are. We have tested boreholes in these areas especially in Glen Norah and some in Mbare and a total of three boreholes have been found to be contaminated with faecal matter which is E. Coli.”
He added that they temporarily closed the boreholes pending installation of what we call in-line chlorinators. He said they have since installed the chlorinators and reopened the boreholes.
According Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) experts, Harare boreholes were not safe as the existing sewage network system had high chances of interfering with borehole water should the sewage pipes burst.
“In Harare, our network of sewage pipes is located underground and there is high risk of residents contracting Cholera if the pipes burst and clean borehole water mixes with sewage water. We cannot say borehole water is safe, residents need to boil or treat this water to avoid getting sick and prevent themselves from Cholera infection.”
Meanhwile, for over 10 years, Zimbabwe has faced frequent outbreaks of typhoid and cholera, which are spread through contaminated water and food, as a result of inadequate infrastructure for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Furthermore, the country has seen an increase in the rates of drug-resistance in both diseases.
In early November 2021, the Government in Zimbabwe started a mop-up vaccination initiative with the typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) to reach children who were not immunised in the TCV vaccination campaign that took place in the country in May. In the 10-day vaccination campaign, more than 4 million children aged 9 months to 15 years received TCV.