Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday called on local authorities countrywide to ensure efficient, consistent waste management systems and the provision of clean water in the face of a cholera outbreak in Harare that has killed 25 and affected more than 3 000 people.
The Government has since declared a state of emergency and put in place a raft of measures in a bid to contain the outbreak including the availing of $1 million to the Harare City Council to repair or upgrade collapsed sewer systems in most high density areas.
Speaking at the commissioning of the $2 million Turning Matabeleland Green (TMG) Tomato Processing Plant and $2 billion Hopeville Housing Project in Bulawayo, President Mnangagwa said it was the responsibility of local authorities to ensure health and sanitation in their respective areas.
“Presently, Government remains gravely concerned with the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. A state of emergency has been declared in Harare and an inter-agency committee has been set up in response to the epidemic.
“I also call on local authorities to ensure responsive, efficient and consistent waste management systems, in all areas throughout the country,” said President Mnangagwa.
“What is most important is for the councils, the municipalities to make sure that sanitation in their respective areas is up to date, water is clean, this is a responsibility which municipalities must make sure they take care of.”
President Mnangagwa said the Government was receiving overwhelming support towards fighting the outbreak.
“The response we are receiving from the private sector and international organisations is really commendable. We have received so much support in terms of materials and financial support from our people to fight the cholera and typhoid epidemic in Harare,” said the President.
He called for more assistance from citizens and corporates, “to come forward and assist with resources to help arrest and contain this dire situation.”
“Meanwhile, let me assure the nation that the health and well being of every citizen throughout the country will remain a top priority under my administration,” said President Mnangagwa.
Due to the cholera outbreak, the Government has with immediate effect banned public gatherings and food vending in Harare as part of measures to contain the disease.
Deaths from suspected cholera will only be handled by health personnel and the same applies to funerals.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police has also been roped in to ensure adherence to these measures, while health teams are working flat out to manage all suspected cases. Gweru has been battling against a typhoid outbreak that had killed 13 people by Monday.
Addressing journalists after an all stakeholders cholera meeting in Harare on Wednesday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the measures were meant to effectively contain the outbreak.
He said cholera cases were increasing daily and there was need to ensure a coordinated response as well as taking drastic measures.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has also expressed concern over the death of people from cholera, which is preventable and treatable.
Speaking to journalists after visiting a cholera treatment camp at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare on Wednesday, the First Lady said it was sad that the spread of the disease was a result of poor hygiene practices.