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Doctors say Harare residents should sue council over typhoid outbreak
31/12/2016 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
ZADHR secretary general, Dr Evans Masitara
 
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HARARE residents who have been affected by typhoid should sue the city council, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has said.

ZADHR’s comments come after Harare City Council admitted last week that at least 40 people showed symptoms of the disease while one school girl had died.

The doctors said it was surprising that the same council was always ready to disconnect water for defaulting residents but not as efficient when it came to fixing burst sewage pipes and collecting garbage putting the lives of thousands of residents at risk.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, ZADHR secretary general, Dr Evans Masitara, said even the number of typhoid patients the council has made public is far less because the situation on the ground was far much worse.

“This information is only coming from Beatrice Infectious Disease Hospital. What about from referral hospitals and private surgeries? The council and government must respond to this issue as a matter of urgency before it goes out of hand like in the previous years.”

However, the minister of health, David Parirenyatwa, claimed that the situation was under control.

In 2008, over 4000 people died of cholera when the government took too long to respond while in denial and making public statements that all was under control.

Masitara said it was high time the residents considered collective action to force the council to pay attention to service delivery.

“These primitive or what I can call Stone Age diseases are being caused by lack of water and sanitation. Rate payers have to put pressure on the City Fathers so that they can concentrate on their core business which is service delivery. Litigation is the best option in this case,” said Masitara.

He added, “They (council) are busy illegally disconnecting water and that is leading to unnecessary loss of life. So, the Council has to be taken to task over these issues because they are not providing these services and yet rates are being paid.”

ZAHRD said residents visiting council and government hospitals seeking treatment for typhoid must not pay cash upfront as this was already an emergency.

“If they continue to demand cash between $5 and $15, many people are going to die because most of those being affected are the ones that cannot afford health care,” said Masitara.



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Harare City Council acting communications manager, Michael Chideme, said those affected by typhoid were not paying for any medical assistance. He said council had identified a particular borehole in Mbare as the source of the outbreak.

Diarrhoea has been described by a government official as a “Harare problem” as the Council fails to replace its 50 year old sewage pipes which were meant to cater for a small number of people but now catering for more than three million residents.

 

 

 


 
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