Minister of Health Sylvia T. Masebo has said the Government is adequately responding to public health emergencies that include Cholera, Polio and Bilharzia and Covid-19.
Cholera, Polio and Bilharzia have been reported in some parts of the country recently.
During the Ministry of Health press briefing on Monday, Ms. Masebo said the Bilharzia outbreak reported in Kapululira, Chirundu has been resolved by the Ministry of Health.
She revealed that the outbreak which affected 150 school going children aged between 7 and 15 was managed by treating those with symptoms and giving those without prevention treatment.
On polio, Ms. Masebo said 1,477,662 million Children aged 0-5 Years have been vaccinated in 30 districts in the first round after polio was reported in neighbouring Malawi.
She said the Ministry of Health is further preparing for the second round polio vaccination campaign in all 116 districts targeting 4,072,231 children under 5 nationally.
“I am pleased to report that the Bilharzia outbreak in Kapululira, Chirundu that was reported on 7th April 2022, has resolved. The outbreak which affected 150 school going children was managed by treating those with symptoms and giving those without prevention treatment. The persons affected are in the age range 7 to 15 years. Allow me to remind our children to avoid swimming or treading in waters that may be infested with parasites that cause Bilharzia. Remember that people are infected during routine agricultural, domestic, occupational, and recreational activities, which expose them to infested water as the parasite which is commonly hosted in certain types of snails enters one’s body through the skin,” Ms. Masebo said.
She urged families with children under the age of 5 to cooperate and make it easy for Ministry of Health teams during upcoming polio vaccinations.
Ms. Masebo warned that polio is a severely debilitating disease and is not curable.
“I now want to update you concerning our efforts in militating against the threat of polio in our children aged under 5 years. You would recall that late last month we mounted a campaign to vaccinate children in Eastern, Muchinga, and Lusaka provinces on the dates 24-28 March 2022. This followed reports of a positive case of wild type polio in neighbouring Malawi after several years of no case on the continent. This finding implied that polio disease may re-emerge and a strong effort to mitigate against this possibility was required in Malawi and the region,” she said.
“We have vaccinated 1,477,662 million Children Aged 0-5 Years in 30 districts in the first round. This represents 110% of the estimated target. We have heightened surveillance nationally. As at last week, all samples from suspected polio cases have tested negative for wild type polio. We are now working on a second-round campaign nationally to target all children under 5. Training and preparations are now advanced for the next campaign in all 116 districts targeting 4,072,231 children under 5 nationally. I urge all Zambian families with children under 5 to cooperate and make it easy for our teams when they come to offer the polio vaccinations. Remember that polio is a severely debilitating disease and is not curable,” Ms. Masebo stated.
On the cholera situation, Ms. Masebo said seven (7) cases have been confirmed so far.
She, however, said there are no cholera suspected cases reported in the last 24 hours.
“I will now update you on the cholera situation in the country. Lusaka Province through Lusaka and Chilanga Districts have been conducting oral cholera vaccination campaigns after confirming cases in Chilanga’s Middle West and a number of compounds in Lusaka District. A total of 4,328 people in Lusaka and 4,769 in the Chilanga hotspots have received vaccine doses in the last 5 days.”
Ms. Masebo added:“There are no cholera suspected cases reported in the last 24 hours. As of 06:00hrs today, a cumulative total of 7 cases have been confirmed, and 4 probable cases pending confirmation. A total of 6 people have been discharged in Lusaka after receiving treatment in our designated centres. The cases reside in the following areas: Mtendere East, Chilanga Middle East, Kanyama, Kabangwe, Matero and Kalingalinga.We recorded suspected cases in Nsumbu, Nsama District. Of the 5 suspected cases, 1 was confirmed, 2 were negative for cholera and 2 results are still pending.”