Nketa residents in Bulawayo affected by water cuts fetch water from a borehole

Typhoid outbreak a�� Unilever steps in

Fungai Muderere
THE outbreak of typhoid needs to be given serious attention, not only in Gweru but in all major urban areas in the country.

Now that the disease has reached epidemic proportions, the attention has to focus on how to prevent further outbreaks in other major urban centres.

In the Midlands Provincial capital a�� Gweru a�� the disease has killed eight people and there are fears that there could be more who died but were not recorded.

It must not be taken lightly as Bulawayo residents are in danger of being exposed as well. With the action taken by the Bulawayo City Council to effect water cuts that saw many suburbs going for days without water, the disease might spread like veld fire.

The city has said that it was on alert for any disease outbreak.

The BCC a�?s senior public relations officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said residents that resorted to borehole water due to erratic supplies had to boil such water.

Typhoid is a fast spreading water-borne disease.

The city of Masvingo is also on the brink of a typhoid scare. A number of high density suburbs have gone without water for days too.

This has prompted Unilever, through its brands with purpose Lifebuoy and Domestos, to engage in an awareness campaign to educate people on health and sanitation. The initiative came after reports of an increase in the number of typhoid cases at local clinics and hospitals.

The Unilever campaign, which started late last week in Gweru, encompassed visits to clinics, hospitals and community meet-ups to educate residents on hand washing techniques, effective toilet cleaning and general health care with the hope of helping to reduce the spread of the infection.

By Monday, Masvingo residents reportedly fetched water from unprotected sources, a situation that is enough to cause a health hazard. Water from the available boreholes was certified unsafe.

a�?We saw it fit to help people at this crucial time to look after their families in light of this outbreak,a�? said Hilary Muzondiwa, managing director of Unilever Zimbabwe.

He added: a�?Our Lifebuoy and Domestos brands are centred on public health issues. We want to make sure we are playing our part in helping fight the typhoid outbreak by educating communities on correct hand-washing techniques and hygiene measures. We hope that this goes a long way in reducing the number of cases reported.a�?

In the past Unilever has successfully launched educational campaigns to help communities reduce cases of preventable diseases such as cholera and typhoid. It is everyonea��s hope that the Unilever programme will help reduce the spread of typhoid in Bulawayo where fear is boiling up following the city councila��s water shedding programme that went over 48 hours. The council blamed power problems on its pumps at the Nyamandlovu aquifer borehole that augment the citya��s water supplies.

While BCC has promised to send bowsers if the water shedding schedule exceeds stipulated times, the general members of the public should be natural advocates of simple and cost effective hygiene measures. Washing your hands after using the toilet and drinking boiled water must be a must.