Concerns were raised recently by Mbare, Glen View, Budiriro, Mufakose and Glen Norah residents about garbage that continues to stain the City of Harare.
There are many other high-density suburbs in the same situation.
Chances of diseases like typhoid, cholera and other diarrhoeal infections breaking out, with the dirty environment and the erratic supply of water, are high.
Most typhoid cases, for example, are caused by contaminated water.
Glen View is notorious for outbreaks of such communicable diseases.
You can trace back to as far as 2012, when more than 900 suspected typhoid cases were recorded, with the Harare City council’s Research and Health Information officer confirming that Glen View suburb was the most affected.
Budiriro is also notorious for similar outbreaks.
These things need to be studied – why Glen View, why Budiriro?
Is there something that needs the City’s attention in these suburbs?
But, that is for another day.
Today, action must be taken as soon as possible to curb the situation which could spiral out of hand.
Harare City must put more effort in ensuring that the poor water and sanitation situation in the City improves as a matter of urgency.
Days of erratic water supplies, which has been the story in many urban areas this summer, forcing people to resort to the use of unprotected sources of water, must be a thing of the past.
Garbage must simply be collected.
If it means engaging the Government and the corporate world, to find ways to stop what will certainly be a menace, then it should be done.
The good thing is typhoid, cholera and other enteric diseases can be prevented. Sadly, the country still faces challenges in combating them because of poor water and sanitation.
It is essential that the key determinants of these preventable but highly transmissible and fatal diseases are addressed to avoid what can easily turn into a national tragedy.
Sewerage and solid waste must be properly processed and managed in all the major urban areas before people even think of combating typhoid.
Failure to handle these key factors will see the persistent outbreaks that the country has been prone to over the last couple of years.
People will need to be educated about such communicable diseases.
Public institutions should always watch out for poor hygiene habits and poor public sanitation conditions to avoid outbreaks like these.
Public education campaigns, encouraging the people to wash their hands after visits to the toilet, and before handling food, are important components in controlling the spread of diseases like typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea.
The chlorination of drinking water has led to dramatic decreases in the transmission of diarrhoea and is a cheap way of preventing outbreaks of such diseases.
For a country that has been ravaged by a cholera outbreak, Zimbabwe should have learnt lessons so as to avoid a recurrence of communicable diseases like cholera and typhoid.
We suffered 100 000 cases and 5 000 deaths during the cholera outbreak and typhoid is threatening to do the same if preventive measures are not taken, as a matter of urgency.
We have done well to deal with the spread of Covid-19 and the same precautions, and a little cleanliness, can prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases.
Let’s start with the simple things like collecting garbage.