ZAMBIA National Marketers Credit Association (ZANAMACA) president Mupila Kameya says the outbreak of Cholera poses a threat to marketeers because hygiene standards in most markets are “pathetic”.
In an interview, Tuesday, Kameya said the government should not be left to fight cholera alone, because everyone depended on markets for various food items.
“It will be affected because, look, if in a market it’s found that one or 10 people have been found with Cholera, it means that the Ministry of Health will come in, and the Ministry of Local Government will come in and say ‘hey, can you close this area, we will not allow it until such a time’. This also affects the inflow of our customers, the inflow of our consumers to come into the market. Everyone will now be afraid of getting into such a populated place,” he said.
“Latrines are not there, we don’t have enough water reticulation. You know markets need to have a lot of water. Cleaning up vegetables is another thing, just enough water for a market. It is an industry that needs to be supported. So it is not something we should [leave] the government to fight alone, no, but all of us must be engaged including the donor community. They need to come in place, the businessmen, all of us need to work together because at the end of the day we all depend on markets. Whether we are in bigger offices, whether we have these bigger positions, we all depend on markets because we eat.”
Kameya described the levels of hygiene in most markets as pathetic.
“Hygiene is pathetic in these markets. I think we need to do a lot in these markets in terms of capacity building, in terms of advocacy. So as an association, I think we need to be supported. We have already created a national rollout to talk about social, economic and health issues that also include advocacy on hygiene which is very key. A market without hygiene is a breeding point of all these diseases,” he said.
Kameya said everyone should get involved in the fight against Cholera by observing high levels of hygiene.
“I think that this is another tragedy we have now as a country. Off and on we have these issues coming up. I think there is a need as a country to prepare ourselves not only when we have a Cholera outbreak or when we have any other coming up. We need to prepare ourselves even before. Anything to do with Cholera is an issue to do with hygiene which is very key to the informal sector, people who are [in] food [business], restaurants and all this stuff,” said Kameya.
“Hygiene must start with us individuals as Zambians. It’s not an issue that people can start blaming the government, but it is an issue [involving] ourselves at family level, community and at national level. So we need to work together to ensure that most of the areas that look to be uplifted in terms of hygiene, we ensure that as a team… the street vending issue is another thing that I think all of us have seen across the country in our cities. Our roads are very dirty and we need to do something. If we don’t correct that, I think we will end up spending a lot of money as a country attending to such.”