[QODLink]
Africa
Typhoid cases surge in Zimbabwe
Poor water and sanitation facilities blamed for the spread of the disease, with up to 50 cases reported a day.
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2012 08:25

Zimbabwean health officials have called for an overhaul of the country's water and sanitation systems amid an outbreak of typhoid that has affected more than 1,500 people.

Henry Madzorera, Zimbabwe's health minister, said the country is reporting up to 50 cases of typhoid a day.

"By the end of December 2011, more than 1,500 cases had been seen and treated," Madzorera told a news conference in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday.

"An average of 30 to 50 cases are reported on a daily basis."

Since the current outbreak started last October, 350 suspected cases and 16 confirmations were reported in the first three weeks of this year. No deaths have been reported up to now.

The bacterial disease is transmitted by contaminated food and water.

"The progressive deterioration of public health infrastructure have seen such rare diseases like typhoid becoming more commonly encountered within our population," Madzorera said, in reference to water and sewerage pipes.

"The same poor water and sanitation conditions in Harare prevail in most of our urban areas and other parts of the country."

Appeal for funds

Madzorera appealed to his government for funds to "refurbish the water, sanitation and sewerage infrastructure as a matter of urgency", after years of neglect during the country's recent economic crisis.

Last week, Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, announced the country would use $40m from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to refurbish water and sanitation facilities.

Some suburbs go for weeks without running water, as Zimbabwean municipalities battle to keep up services.

Harare city authorities say they cannot supply water to all the city's residents.

Dams and water treatment facilities date back to before Zimbabwe's 1980 independence and cannot sustain demands from the ever-increasing population in the capital.

Last October, more than 6,000 cases of diarrhoea were reported in the southern towns of Masvingo and Kadoma when at least seven children died.

Four years ago, more than 4,000 people died of cholera in an outbreak that affected nearly 100,000 people.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.