Why has Zimbabwe banned street food?


Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 10 January 2017| 11 Rabi ul Awal 1438

The government is trying to control a typhoid outbreak caused by poor sanitation and unregulated water supplies. The ban on street food has been put in place to prevent the water-borne disease from spreading.

How does the ban work?

The ban was imposed in Zimbabwe’s capital and most populous city, Harare.

Under the ban, food, including fruits and vegetables, can no longer be sold at road side stalls.

But the implementation of the order maybe a problem as the city does not have the capacity or the manpower to enforce the ban, a local government official said.

“The city of Harare itself also needs a very strong environment division. I think this has been absent and the municipal police must also do their work. I think those two, if we can have the right skills in those sectors, we should have order in Harare,” Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government Saviour Kasukuwere said.

What caused the outbreak of typhoid?
Harare has been reeling under an acute shortage of piped water and to add to the woes of residents, already grappling with an economic meltdown and long power cuts, rubbish is not collected for days.

Citizens and health officials have pointed towards unregulated water supplies and poor sanitation for the spread of the disease in one of Africa’s poorest nations.

The typhoid bacteria is spread when food or water containing contaminated fecal matter is consumed. It kills more than 200,000 people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The ongoing crisis has been worsened by a severe drought plaguing Zimbabwe and fueled an illegal business where residents and road side food vendors receive water supplies in buckets and large tanks. Some of the water being sold is not clean.

How many people have been affected by the disease?
Zimbabwe’s health ministry said 2,300 suspected cases of typhoid have been recorded nationally and 12 people have died since 2016.
“The cases were mostly from Harare… We are still in emergency response mode and we are doing everything possible to get the situation under control,” she said.

The government has set up a ministerial task force to monitor and contain the spread of disease.

What happens if the government cannot contain the disease?
Zimbabwe’s health minister, David Parirenyatwa said their “biggest fear” was the spread of cholera if situation was not contained.

He said the country can “more or less” manage typhoid but that “cholera will just be a nightmare.”
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated, according to WHO. Cholera is also transmitted through contaminated drinking water.

In 2008, cholera claimed at least 4,000 lives in Zimbabwe at the height of the country’s economic crisis when most of the public hospitals were closed due to a shortage of medicines and the flight of health workers abroad.

Source – AFP| Trt world