The Herald (Zimbabwe)

CPU activated to fight cholera in Harare

- Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter

GOVERNMENT has activated the Civil Protection Unit Act to deal with the current cholera outbreak being experience­d in Harare where a surge in cases has been reported in the past few weeks.

The city reported a high of 90 new cases on Monday and although the cases reported in Harare had declined to 58, these were still the highest number of cases reported in the country for in a day, according to the Ministry of Health and Child Care daily situation report.

A total of 33 people out of the 109 admitted cases are currently hospitalis­ed at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital.

Harare has reported more than 2 000 suspected cases of cholera since the beginning of the outbreak in February this year.

Speaking during the post Cabinet briefing yesterday, Minister of Informatio­n, Publicity and Broadcasti­ng services, Dr Jenfan Muswere said the activation of the CPU Act came after it was observed that Harare City Council was failing to manage the challenges that were fuelling the outbreak.

“The nation is being informed that the Minister of Health and Childcare after noting that 80 percent of the 90 new cholera cases reported in Harare were in Kuwadzana, visited the area accompanie­d by the Mayor of Harare, the Director of Harare City Health, and an Engineer in the Department of refuse collection to get first-hand informatio­n. The team observed that residents are not getting potable water as the council was failing to pump adequate water at Morton Jeffrey Waterworks. Harare City Council is failing to manage the challenges. The nation is advised that the Cabinet has directed that clean water be available to the residents to reduce cholera incidences and that the Civil Protection Act be activated to fight the disease,” he said.

The cholera situation has been exacerbate­d by the constant sewer pipe bursts as well as uncollecte­d garbage that have accumulate­d at illegal dumpsites.

Government has in the past committed to prioritise the rehabilita­tion and refurbishm­ent of water reticulati­on sites, piping of water from Wenimbi Dam to Harare and the constructi­on of the Kunzvi Dam to improve water supply to the city.

However, in the meantime, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the challenge of burst sewer pipes was a common problem in Kuwadzana, Chitungwiz­a and other areas.

He said while most of the pipes were now old, there were some blockages allegedly being caused by people throwing various objects into the pipes to cause backflow of sewage water.

“When we look at it holistical­ly, it is the responsibi­lity of the City Council but when the City is failing then the Government comes in. Government is coming to make sure that electricit­y is supplied so that there is a constant fresh water supply usable in households. When you have a constant water supply it means people can flush their toilets and reduce sewer blockages due to solid waste build up,” he said.

He said the cleaning of illegal dumpsites would also help relieve the spread of the disease.

“In the long term we want to make sure that the sewer treatment plants in Crowboroug­h are repaired. There are three sites not working and as a result that sewage is being discharged into Lake Chivero raw. So we are seeing failure on the part of the

City of Harare to manage what they are supposed to manage and the Government is coming in to assist,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Government recently launched the Emergency Solid Waste Management Programme in response to the deplorable state of management in Harare Province.

To fund this, Treasury released the first tranche of the scheduled three equal releases of US$700 000 last month which has seen a total of 1 083 illegal dumps being cleared.

“The main focus in the next six weeks will be to clear all remaining dumps. The target is to clear the following waste dumps: 10 per day in Harare, nine per day in Chitungwiz­a, two per day in Epworth and two per day in Ruwa. The nation is being informed that Government has directed CMED to assess all trucks, tippers, tractors and compactors in the four local authoritie­s that require repairs with a view to cutting down the costs of hiring equipment. CMED has since identified the vehicles and will be incorporat­ed in the existing fleet,” Minister Muswere said.

He said the Environmen­tal Management Authority (EMA) had transferre­d finances to CMED for the repairs that should be completed within one week.

“The nation is advised that CMED is in the process of opening access roads in informal and formal communitie­s which are inaccessib­le for the collection of waste. All local authoritie­s have been directed to ring-fence funds levied for waste collection, and the funds be utilise for that purpose. The same local authoritie­s have been further directed to ensure that each business premise has a bin, and that the frontages of the premises are kept clean,” he added.

 ?? ?? Minister Mombeshora
Minister Mombeshora

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