Government, residents and international agencies are partnering to stem cholera outbreak in Zambia.
There is a cholera outbreak in Zambia. In addition to at least 66 lives claimed by the outbreak, it has also resulted in widespread socio-economic impacts – the latest being the decision of the Namibian government to provisionally ban the importation of all perishable food, fruits, unprocessed food and water from neighbouring Zambia until further notice.
According to media reports monitored by HealthNews.NG, those dead are mostly slum dwellers in Zambia, which is whyefforts are being made at local levels to combat the outbreak.
Copperbelt’s Chisokone Market has been shut to allow for cleaning as one of the measures to avert a major cholera outbreak in Kitwe. Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu and Kitwe Mayor Christopher Kang’ombe have taken charge of the cleaning exercise with the help of the Zambia Army, Zambia National Service, Kitwe City Council and Market and Street Vendor Association.
However, the situation has left marketeers stranded with no hope of continuing their business activities for the next few days.
“We all support the efforts being made by our leaders but this one will not only affect us as marketeers but the economy as well. How many people are turning away after finding that the market is closed? That is all money, I also don’t know how they expect us to survive with this situation,” Astridah Zulu, a marketeer at Chisokone, said.
Street Vendors Foundation Representative Paul Mambwe said the exercise will help prevent an outbreak of the disease in the market.
“We are lucky that not even a case has been recorded here but obviously we must sustain that otherwise we would end up losing lives. All of us should be concerned because this is for our own good,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu has disclosed that the cases of cholera reported in Kitwe still stand at three and efforts are still being made to avoid further outbreaks.
The cholera outbreak in Zambia’s capital Lusaka has left traders stranded after the central business district was shut by the government.
In an attempt to stem the spread, the Zambian government has flagged off oral cholera vaccination exercise in Lusaka’s Kanyama compound and other cholera prone areas. Through the United Nations, the effort aims to immunize 2000 persons with cholera vaccine especially in the affected areas.
Speaking during the flag off Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said that the vaccination process should not be misunderstood as a gathering that will promote transmission but a gathering to sensitize and receive the cholera vaccine.
He expressed gratitude that cholera cases have drastically reduced to 80 from 164 cases so far.
“No death has been recorded in the last 24 hours which is commendable as many intervention have been put in place,” he said.
He added that a total of 2,514 cases have so far been treated and discharged in various cholera epi-centers.
The health minister assured the public that the downward trend will continue until cholera is brought to a halt. He said government has escalated the burying of shallow wells and creating fresh water points which will help overcome the epidemic.
He appealed to the public to continue observing good sanitary hygiene and handwashing.
UN pledges support
Commenting, the UN Resident coordinator, Janet Rogan said the UN family will continue to help fight the epidemic and has given 2 million doses of chlorine and 1.3 million doses for mobilization.
Rogan said the UN system will continue to help fight the epidemic adding that her organization has so far provided two million quantities of chlorine and other mobilization incentives.