By Mary Taruvinga
HARARE: The government has, with immediate effect, banned vending in cholera-hit suburbs of Budiriro and Glenview as the epidemic continues to spread countrywide.
This comes at a time the death toll and number of cases continue to rise with 21 people dead and the number of suspected cases reaching more than 3,000.
Health and child care minister Obadiah Moyo told journalists at a press briefing on Wednesday that banning vending was one of the best ways to control the outbreak.
“We have to stop vending in Glenview and Budiriro, the epicentre of the outbreak,” he said.
“That is a must and we will work with the police to ensure that we clear vendors not with municipal police alone,” he said.
“There is need for a well-planned adjustment in areas where vending is taking place. Vending should be carried out in a hygienic manner. There should be public toilets and water.”
He added; “We are not going to stop vending in general but only in affected areas.
“We will sit down with involved ministries to ensure there will be something in benefit for vending families.
“I believe vendors will agree to this arrangement because they are also affected,” he said.
Cholera is transmitted through consumption of contaminated water and poor sanitation as well as unhygienic malpractices in communities.
Minister Moyo aid his ministry will also address the issue of water supplies in the capital.
“The idea is to put relevant control measures in Glenview and Budiriro.
“If it means filling up wells will do that. We will ensure the people will now be able to get clean water. That is our wish.”
At least 21 people have succumbed to cholera since it was confirmed two weeks ago.
Over 3,000 people have been hospitalised with 45 cases of infection confirmed.
Moyo said the government will ensure that treatment is available but warned that that there the current cholera strain was proving resistant to drugs.
The government was in the process of sourcing funds from donors to help purchase a special antibiotic to cure the disease.
“The sensitivity of the pattern is allowing us to use one particular antibiotic which is fairly expensive.
“What is important though are dehydration fluids and we have these available he said.
The government has since declared the cholera outbreak in Harare a state of emergency.
Vendors are a common sight on the streets of Harare selling all manner of goods including fruit, vegetables, fresh meat and fish.
Unemployment is also high, and many people depend on street vending to make ends meet which has resulted in them defying orders to vacate the streets many times before.
But the sale of perishable food on the streets is not being properly monitored, and Moyo said this is causing continuous spread of diseases like cholera and typhoid.