Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo has called on stakeholders to come on board to work in close collaboration with the Ministry in sensitizing the communities on diarrheal diseases such as cholera that pose a great risk especially this rainy season.
Ms Masebo stated during a press briefing yesterday that the rainy season brings with it an increased risk of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery, adding that by the end of the year 2022, at least 28 countries globally were experiencing cholera outbreaks, this includes countries neighboring Zambia such as Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
She explained that with the climate conditions worsening, human displacement will intensify, along with droughts and flooding resulting in extreme human suffering, and Zambia is not exempt from these conditions.
“Indeed we already received meteorological notice of flash floods expected during this week and the coming days across the country. This therefore is a clarion call to our beloved country that we need to take steps to particularly avoid a cholera outbreak within our borders,” she further explained
Ms Masebo said that while the country has so far done well and have not recorded any case of confirmed cholera since May 2022, the environmental conditions make it remain at risk of an outbreak, and the increasing rain, poor drainage and general increase in garbage all point to fertile conditions for outbreak of diarrheal diseases including the dreadful cholera.
“Let me remind us that as Zambia, we positioned ourselves in line with global efforts to end cholera by 2030 and we actually moved the national target to achieve control by 2025. To these ends, national multisectoral strategies have been put in place to really fast track and enhance national preparedness. More so, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) recognized Zambia’s engagement and nominated His Excellency the President Mr. Hakainde Hichilema to be the Global Cholera Control Champion during the sidelines of the World Health Assembly last year,” she said
The Minister mentioned that the Zambia cannot afford to let cholera or indeed other obvious diarrheal diseases to breakout, as the country cannot simply afford another disruption, therefore, the country’s disease intelligence sense tells that to avoid cholera and other diarrheal disease outbreaks in the country, immediate actions must be taken.
“The actions to be taken are 1.Create awareness across the country to ensure that our communities understand this threat, 2. Ensuring that all drinking water is made safe by chlorination or boiling and suitable storage, 3. Use of appropriate sanitation facilities with hygienic disposal of household and human waste, 4. Washing hands frequently with soap and water, 5. Ensuring that all food is thoroughly cooked and safely stored,” Ms Masebo disclosed
Ms Masebo further disclosed that above these, waste must be managed in the state of the cities, markets, bus stops, and community gathering places must be improved, as this will help to mitigate the obvious threat of cholera especially in trading places located in the urban areas.
“If we continue the way the situation is, we will be hit hard, prevention is always better than cure, and certainly cheaper. Let us hold hands together and keep our nation clean and healthy,” she said
Meanwhile, Ms Masebo has since urged the public to adhere to COVID-19 prevention measures including practicing hand hygiene and masking up in public places, as the country continues to monitor the COVID-19 trends, adding that all persons who develop symptoms suggesting of COVID-19 should present themselves to the nearest health facility.
“Locally we have seen a steady increase in the number of daily new cases, the test positivity rate and geographical spread of COVID-19 in terms of affected districts. We are also experiencing an increase in the rate of hospitalisations and mortality,” she said
“In the last 24 hours, we recorded a total of 311 new COVID-19 cases (8.5% positivity) and three deaths. The breakdown of the new cases reported in the last 24 hours by district and within province positivity,” Ms Masebo stated