By Endy Ziyera
Residents of Matida Hostel and Chimoio flats, in Ward 1, Sakubva surbub of Mutare face a real health challenge presented by dirty and run down public ablution facilities.
Matida and Chimoio flats are home to thousands of families made up of the elderly, youths and children. These flats were built in the fifties by the colonial regime to house up thousand of single males working in the city unlike the current situation where there are more than 4000 households occupying these old and dilapidated facilities long condemned as unfit for human habitation by the city authorities.
The major problem being faced by residents in this populous area is the issue of public ablution facilities which have turned out to be not only overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people using the facilities but the fact that the tolites are simply a health hazard.
One has to be more than brave, more than resilient but crazy to be able to use the facilities. Water does not reach the second and third floors at Matida Hostel which means that the toilets are full to the brim with human waste. Some of the toilets got blocked years ago and haven’t been repaired. One is met by a pungent smell of rotting human waste which has been compounded by lack of water to flush away the human deposits. Rats, some very fat and huge as a cat, flies and maggots have found a haven as they feast on the provisions courtesy of the local authority who have failed in their duty to service the residents with proper water and sanitation facilities. Residents have taken up the duty of cleaning the ablution facilities to ease the health risk because Mutare city council employee responsible for cleaning toilets never turn up. On a daily basis, citizens face the unfolding health disaster with austere hope of surviving through it yet without any hope of having the problem rectified by the duty bearer.