Govt Urged to Intervene as Mobile Toilets Confiscated Amid Cholera Outbreak in Harare


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DT Correspondent

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Mobile Sanitation Association (ZMSA), a prominent hygiene lobby group, has called on the government to intervene and put an end to the confiscation of its mobile toilets by Harare city officials.

This action comes despite the severe shortage of ablution facilities that is currently plaguing the city.

Harare’s local authority has been grappling with a cholera outbreak, which has been exacerbated by challenges in water supply, poor hygiene practices, and a scarcity of public toilets.

The situation has reached critical levels, as indicated by the latest Health Daily cholera situational report, which reveals that 347 new suspected cholera cases, six suspected deaths, and six laboratory-confirmed results were reported last Friday alone.

Furthermore, a total of 364 cases have been hospitalised nationwide.

In response to this crisis, the Zimbabwe Mobile Sanitation Association has taken it upon itself to support local authorities in providing essential public health facilities, including mobile toilets and sanitation products.

However, the city of Harare has been impounding the association’s mobile toilets, disregarding a directive issued by the City Director of Work to release them.

In a letter addressed to the Local Government ministry’s permanent secretary, John Basera, ZMSA President Boston Muteya highlighted the organization’s commitment to combating the cholera outbreak.

“The government has made a clarion call for a concerted effort in the fight against the recent cholera outbreak and against its escalation. Zmsa embraced the call by providing mobile toilets at places with constrained or inadequate public toilets within the City of Harare’s jurisdiction.

 “The City Council is refusing to release the initial 22 and washing stations despite a directive issued by the City Director of Work to do so.

“Our prayer is for the City of Harare to release the total 31 mobile toilets and washing stations which have been confiscated up to date. The City of Harare should stop frustrating Zimbabwe Mobile Sanitation Association’s efforts in the fight against cholera,” Muteya said.

City of Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume told Digital Telegraph that they are going to look into the issue of mobile toilets to find a lasting solution.

While he expressed openness to new technologies, Mafume emphasised the necessity of inspecting and approving mobile toilets through the Health Department.

“As a city, we welcome new technologies but we need to be careful about mobile toilets as they need to be inspected and approved by the Health department. We need to understand where they dispose of their waste because one can move with disease across the whole of the town.

“We are going to look at international best practices, what we must be doing is that we expand the toilets that are available to the public at fixed points.

“We are going to look at the complaints and the possibility of someone moving around with the toilet in the city for people to use, that sounds dramatic but if it is keeping with modern standards we want to make sure that our licensing department licenses them,” Mafume said.

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