Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says government will soon stop marketeers from selling fresh foods in contaminated places in order to combat the cholera epidemic.

And Chilufya says government has invested K20 million in the Ministry of Health to empower a multi-sectoral task force that will help to combat the cholera epidemic that hit the country in October this year.

The Minister of Health disclosed this yesterday after he joined in the cleaning exercise of Soweto Market in Lusaka.

Dr Chilufya expressed confidence that cholera would be controlled by the introduction of a multi-sectoral approach to which government committed to mobilise a further K18 million from its stakeholders in order to escalate the prevention measure.

“Firstly, we are going to stop trading fresh foods in contaminated places because that will just escalate the epidemic. Secondly, we have engaged the vendors themselves to understand why we may need to scale down on certain products in certain environments until we work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that trading places are clean and safe . So today we convened, engaged marketeers, street vendors and harnessed there participation in cleaning the market and this is not a one off thing. It should be a routine and it should happen because poor hygiene will always cause waterborne diseases,” Dr Chilufya said.

“Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company are also on site to help address the challenges of poor sanitation. We are also emphasising the importance of hand washing and marketeers have responded well. We are confident that cholera will be controlled with this multi-sectoral approach. Government has put in an initial investment of K20 million in this multi-sectoral approach and we are just now mobilising another K18 million from our stakeholders to escalate the multi-sectoral response. It is important to note that what is fuelling the epidemic is poor hygiene practices in places like this. Therefore, government shall need to send a cholera multi sectoral task force on the ground to conduct a robust patrol programme. Today you are seeing ministers and members of parliament from Lusaka to demonstrate their political will and to also show the concern that President Edgar Lungu has shown in addressing what is causing the epidemic.”

Chitalu Chilufya talks to traders at Soweto market

Dr Chifya also gave an update on the Cholera cases in Lusaka and other parts of the country.

“Cumulative cholera cases are now at 298 and 46 are currently under treatment. The epicenter in Kanyama has 17 cases so far. We also have a total of 36 cases of children, 17 are in Kanyama, 19 are in Chipata. It is important also to note that Soweto market because of it’s nature records a lot of cholera cases and most of the cases recorded in Soweto came from Kanyama itself. The mortality we had was for a meat trader from Kanyama who was trading at Soweto market and the others were travellers from Mumbwa who were camped here,” said DR Chilufya.

Meanwhile, Lusaka Province Minister Japhen Mwakalombe said government would look for partners to team up with in order to start generating electricity from solid waste.

“We have to understand that Lusaka Province is generating a lot of waste because of the activities that we have and the market is also one of the those things that are generating waste. But there are measures that are being put in place to control this and one of the measures that we have put in place is that first of all when you look at waste energy, we have teamed up with companies who want to set up factories to generate power from the waste. So that is one of the things that we have done in order to add value,” said Mwakalombe.

And Kanyama PF member of parliament Elizabeth Phiri expressed happiness with government’s intention to give her constituency its own municipal council by next year. She said the move would help her interact with her people closely.