BULAWAYO residents fear a malaria outbreak could hit the second city after the council failed to roll out its anti-mosquito programme this year.
The city has a number of streams that have been identified as mosquito breeding zones in Matsheumhlophe, Luveve, New Lobengula, Emakhandeni, Hillside, Glengary and Woodlands.
At the beginning of every year, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) carries out a fumigation exercise at all these areas and other parts of the city.
However, almost two months into the New Year, the fumigation is yet to take place and residents have been left at the mercy of mosquitos and at high risk of contracting malaria.
A resident from Woodlands said there has been an increase in mosquitoes around the area.
“This year might be a scary one as there is an increase in mosquitoes because of the heavy rains. Our city is a malaria hotspot and surely there is something that needs to be done,” Beauty Dlodlo told the Daily News.
Another resident said as much as residents can buy mosquito repellents and other chemicals, there is a need to deal with the breeding streams.
“We are buying mosquito repellent and stuff but this is just a temporary solution, the whole issue lies in those stagnant streams that need to be disinfected,” Mashudu Dube said.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said BCC is short-staffed due to the Covid-19 lockdown hence it’s difficult to roll out the anti-mosquito programme.
Since March 2020, Zimbabwe has been in lockdown which severely restricts the movement of people and businesses operating hours in a bid to combat the deadly pandemic.
“BCC has been affected financially and we are also short-staffed due to Covid-19 hence our failure to roll out the programme. We cannot even hire residents to do as little as cutting grass,” Ncube said.
Malaria is one of the biggest killers on the continent and Zimbabwe recorded at least 392 fatalities from the 389 101 recorded cases in 2020.
This represented a 47 percent jump in cases from the 245 660 that were recorded in 2019.