• September 25th, 2018
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Windhoek mayor blames street vendors for city’s health risks

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Front Page News

Alvine Kapitako Windhoek-Street vendors, especially those trading in the informal settlements, are the greatest contributors to poor hygiene as they carelessly dispose of their waste even in their trading environment, Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua said over the weekend. The mayor made the remarks at the official mayoral clean-up campaign in Havana informal settlement where community members were educated on how to keep their environment clean. During his formal speech, after having observed the unhygienic state of Havana, Kazapua said that he wonders what type of customers support the vendors in the area, which he said “is dirty”. He said that other contributors to poor hygiene in the informal settlements are people “with cars”, people who come from other locations to dispose of their waste in the riverbeds of Havana. Havana is the informal settlement that has been hit the hardest by the hepatitis E outbreak, with the majority of cases recorded in the area. The other cases were in the informal settlements of Hakahana and Goreangab. Five deaths have been recorded from the outbreak, including one man. Additionally, two stillbirths as a result of hepatitis E were recorded. According to Dr Lilliane Kahuika of the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ epidemiology division, there are now 746 cases of hepatitis E and of these, 51 are lab confirmed. The informal settlements have also seen an outbreak of cholera. The City of Windhoek had earlier deployed 22 health inspectors to the affected areas, to examine whether vendors in informal settlements comply with hygienic standards, amongst others. The city has however confirmed that it is understaffed, has limited resources and is unable to adequately monitor the hygienic standards of street vendors operating in informal settlements. Health visits are done at least once a month. Kazapua, who spoke sternly against the bad practices of vendors, said the days of informal traders just trading anywhere are numbered as municipal bylaws would be implemented to prevent them from doing so. “We are going to take drastic decisions this time in terms of implementing our municipal bylaws. Even at villages there is order. When someone wants to open a cuca shop at a village they first seek permission from the headman,” said Kazapua. He further stated that the majority of people who open cuca shops (shebeens) in Havana are from affluent areas. “Most of our people here are suffering. Shame on you who do not report these illegal activities,” said Kazapua, adding that as a result of the shebeens, people have resorted to illegal connections that put a strain on the municipality. He further spoke of the high influx of people into Windhoek. “Now is the time to prevent people coming to Windhoek just for greener pastures,” he stressed, adding that Windhoek cannot be compared to Oshakati or Otjiwarongo. The mayor stated that Windhoek is a beautiful city and it is “shameful to us that we lost our cleanliness status because we are dirty”. The city’s cleanliness has deteriorated to a point that waterborne diseases have started to break out, Kazapua said. “It is very disappointing to hear on a daily basis that some toilets are not working or that someone stole parts of the toilets that were set up by the municipality.” “The cleaning up campaign is a step in the right direction towards containing the (hepatitis E) outbreak. The Ministry of Health and Social Services stands in solidarity with the City of Windhoek and other stakeholders in the fight against hepatitis E,” said Dr Kahuika. The health ministry, City of Windhoek employees and other stakeholders also made use of the opportunity to educate vendors about hygiene. Kahuika also confirmed that some vendors practise open defecation at the markets. Governor of the Khomas region, Laura McLeod-Katjirua, also spoke strongly on the importance of cleanliness. “We are going to provide water and sanitation (ablution facilities) but whatever the municipality provides, you should take care of it,” said McLeod-Katjirua.
2018-02-19 09:06:25 7 months ago
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