Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya has disclosed that Lusaka Province is on high cholera alert after recording 11 new cases as of yesterday.
After inspecting cholera centers in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Chilufya announced that six out of 11 cholera patients had been discharged while five were stable and undergoing treatment but no deaths had been recorded.
“We have a confirmed outbreak of cholera in localized areas in Chipata compound and Mazyopa. So far, we have 11 cases that have been attended to. We have six discharged and five under treatment but they are stable. There are no deaths. We have had two cases confirmed for vibrio cholera in our UTH laboratory and for now we can confirm the outbreak of cholera in the localized area and we are putting the whole Lusaka on cholera alert. This means that the index of suspicion has gone up,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said that water sampling in all areas of Lusaka as well as sensitization on the matter would be intensified.
“We will intensify water sampling in all areas of Lusaka and ensure that health education and sensitization of the public is intensified. As you are aware, we set up a National Public Health Institute which was given the responsibility to respond and prepare for epidemics. We have set up a screening center here in Chipata which is proximal to the zone were the incidence is and at this clinic we are investigating, stabilizing suspects and then moving them to a set up cholera center. So far we have adequate logistics right at this center,” Dr Chilufya said.
He added that after investigating the water in the affected areas, it was discovered that the water sources are contaminated but however measures were put in place to control the situation.
“We have done the investigations and water sampling so far indicates contamination of water sources. We have now started giving our people in the area household chlorine to ensure that their water is safe. We have also started disinfecting the pit latrines. So far we have disinfected 135 pit latrines and we have distributed about 262 bottles of household chlorine. We have gone further and made contacts with more that 2,200 citizens disseminating key health messages on how to not to contract cholera and the behavioral change to prevent the spread of cholera. We have also sent our team in all congregate setups, in markets and everywhere. We also have combined teams of the World Health Organization, Lusaka Water and Sewerage and the Lusaka City Council to ensure that we are disseminating information, distributing household chlorine and ensuring that we disinfect pit latrines to the localized areas so that the outbreak remains local,” said Dr Chilufya.