Cholera gobbled K162m with 114 deaths – Health Minister

Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced that the cholera outbreak has officially ended after gobbling K162 million on treatment and recording 114 deaths nationwide.

Addressing the press, Friday, Dr Chilufya said close to 6, 000 cases were recorded, with Lusaka District alone accounting for 5, 444 reports which resulted in 98 deaths within eight months.

“I am pleased to announce to you today that the 2017/2018 cholera outbreak is over after recording zero confirmed cases for 14 continuous days. The outbreak which lasted for approximately 8months had spread beyond Lusaka district affecting 5,935 cases and 114 deaths nationwide. Lusaka district alone recorded 5, 444 cases and 98 deaths,” Chilufya said.

“I must emphasise that this outbreak could have been worse considering how wide spread it was in Lusaka District, the central and main distribution points of the country. The outbreak has been aptly contained because of the unprecedented political will and leadership exhibited by His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia who appointed a Committee of Cabinet Ministers to oversee and provide guidance to the response. It goes without saying, that the multi-sectoral approach in responding to the outbreak was a major contributor to the containment of the outbreak.”

He said donors, especially the Chinese government made significant contributions towards the cholera response.

“We spent K162 million as government on the cholera response. And from the donors, we spent K3.3 million in cash and mainly from the Chinese government. The other K300 thousand kwacha came from various partners. We also got a lot of donations in kind, in terms of chlorine, protective wear, trucks and various other things,” the minister said.

Dr Chilufya hastened to state that the ban on street vending was still in effect and the preventive measure were in full force to maintain hygiene standards in the country.

“It is important that we take note that a re-occurrence of a cholera outbreak may occur considering the risk factors recognised in the just ended outbreak, these being: inadequate access to clean and safe water leading to households digging up shallow wells as an alternative source of water, poor sanitation in most households in cholera-affected areas, contaminated foods from streets, some markets and other trading places that have inadequate sanitation facilities and no or erratic water supply, poor personal hygiene practices and inadequate waste management with indiscriminate disposal of waste. Considering the risks above, we must emphasise to all stakeholders that there is need for sustaining scaling up of key interventions particularly those of medium and long term,” he said.

“I wish to remind you all that the Statutory Instruments No. 79 of 2017, The Public Health Act (Laws, Volume 17, Cap. 295), The Public Health (Infected Areas) (Cholera) Regulations, 2017 and No. 10 of 2018, Local Government (Street Vending and Nuisances) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 are still in force. I wish to reiterate that we should all be responsible and abide to the agreed standards and guidelines in line with the Public Health Act regarding how we manage markets, trading places, schools and the ban on street vending. Allow me to make a clarion call to action by all stakeholders centered on community participation and engagement; let us lead the way for the world to end cholera by 2030.”

The minister then took time to thank the partners that helped in the cholera response.

“Allow me to commend and thank the various players in the response: His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu for his impeccable leadership and resource mobilisation. Her Honour, Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia for coordinating and bringing on board the high level representatives from the different stakeholders. Fellow Cabinet Ministers representing Local Government; Water, Sanitation and Environmental Protection; Office of the Vice President; Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher education and Lusaka Province among others. Members of Parliament , the Defense Forces and civic leaders for total their engagement; Multisectoral and bilateral partners for the resources and technical support. The generous support from the cooperating partners, corporate citizens and communities, cannot be overemphasised as a contributing factor to the mitigation of the outbreak; Technical team led by the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI). I am sure that you are all as excited as I am that we have resolved the 2017/2018 cholera outbreak,” said Dr Chilufya.

         

Joseph Mwenda

About Joseph Mwenda

Joseph Mwenda is a Zambian journalist experienced in political news writing, photography and video editing.
Email: joseph [at] diggers [dot] news

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