THE city of Harare now resembles an ancient town as it lacks the characteristics and requisites of a modern day city due to poor planning and recurrent diarrheal diseases like Typhoid and Cholera which were most prominent during ancient times.
Typhoid was first discovered in 1880 in New York City but is also believed to have existed around 430 BC in Greece where it almost wiped out a whole army.
Briefing a Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Public Dialogue meeting on Recurrent Outbreak of Typhoid and Diarrheal Diseases, Director for Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health, Dr Portia Manangazira said Harare is now a serious health hazard due to increased activities which are fertile breeding ground for ancient diseases like Typhoid and Cholera.
“What is an urban area, it is defined, but when you go to Hopley Farm and Hatcliff you wonder whether its urban or rural. This is where we get it wrong, we want to be urban but we are not that urban. Urban areas come with its stipulations and unfortunately we are failing to them in Zimbabwe. We have to start by regulated urbanisation first, and we are already talking 30, 50 years ago just making a proper urban setting and then the state that now lead you to a healthy city.
“If you go to a city in Europe today, you would think you are in a forest, they are well wooded with trees and open spaces, but what are we doing with our cities here, we put houses and then the houses are not serviced there is no sewage, there is no waste management systems, so we have gone back to the Victorian type of a city and yet we still want to be associated with modern times,” said Dr Manangazira.
She added that Zimbabwean cities are demoting health rather than promoting and called on local authorities to fix the mess and restore the City to its former Sunshine City status. She also said water in the city should only from tapes and not boreholes and wells.
Harare has seen an uncontrollable sprouting of overpopulated illegal residential areas like Hopely, Calledonia (though it was recently regularised) Epworth and others. The areas lack in basic health, water and sanitation facilities as most residents uses bushes as toilets and get water from unprotected holes and boreholes.
According to city health experts, most boreholes in Harare in particular Hatcliff are contaminated and residents should use best water treatment methods like chlorinating or boiling water before use. Hatcliff recently had more than 13 inl-ine boreholes Chlorinators installed in a bid to reduce the spread of Typhoid through drinking water.
A borehole with an installed Chlorinator
Meanwhile, Dr Issac Phiri also from the department of Epidemiology in the ministry of health said Harare has recoded highest Typhoid cases since it was first reported in 2009.
“From January, we had an increase in cases of Typhoid in Harare, specifically in Mbare where over 1 405 as we speak and 78 of them were laboratory confirmed. Unfortunately, three deaths were recorded and this could be an underestimation.
“By district, Harare, has contributed a majority, over 80 percent of the cases were reported in Harare. Over 1 2018 have been reported in Harare. Mashonalnd Central, 200 cases, Mash West, 30 cases and these have been conformed to be Typhoid. All deaths were recorded in Harare.”