Forty-three children have died from suspected measles in Chief Chiundaponde’s area in Kanchibiya constituency of Lavushimanda district in Muchinga Province.
Both Muchinga Province Health Director Nero Chilembo and Kanchibiya Member of Parliament, Martin Malama have confirmed the development in separate interviews with the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in Lavushimanda today.
Dr. Chilembo however revealed that from the 43 deaths recorded in Chiundaponde, two fatalities were recorded at the health facility while the remaining 41 were recorded in the communities.
And Dr. Chilembo said other fatalities were confirmed through the physical counting of graves in the community.
The Provincial Health Director said his team has already started conducting research, and has embarked on a massive immunisation campaign with financial assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health.
He however added that the disease outbreak has been contained with no new cases having been reported in the last 3 days.
Dr Chilembo said a total of 5,426 children aged below the age of 15 have since been immunised so far, adding that health education and identification of new cases in the affected communities has also been stepped up.
Meanwhile Dr. Chilembo has appealed to the affected communities to quickly seek medical attention whenever they suspect any health problem.
And according to the Area Member of Parliament Martin Malama, the measles epidemic broke out a month ago in Kapilya area in Chiundaponde and so far 43 lives have been lost
Dr. Malama said the measles outbreak is due to lack quick medical response from health facilities, adding that the area has one health post, located 60 kilometres away from the named villages, making it difficult for people to walk to and from, to have their children immunised.
He further noted that at the moment the roads are impassable due to heavy rains and the area can only be accessed by use of canoes and small boats.
Dr. Malama also advised that there was need for members of the community to receive timely education and sensitization on the importance of immunisation against measles.
He also said more health posts need to be constructed in the area, in order to avoid the long distances covered by people, in accessing medical services.
Dr. Malama has since thanked the Ministry of Health for enhancing measures to control the disease outbreak.