ACTING Minister of Health Ambrose Lufuma says people should expect to see an increase in the number of colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses in the coming weeks owing to the colder weather.
In a statement read on his behalf by Ministry of Health permanent secretary for technical services Prof Lackson Kasonka recently, Lufuma advised the public to take necessary precautions including practicing hand hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping warm.
“As we begin to experience colder weather in the coming weeks, with temperatures as low as 10°C, we can expect to see an increase in the number of colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses. This is particularly common as people tend to stay indoors more often, with reduced ventilation. We wish to advise the public to take the necessary precautions including practicing hand hygiene, cough etiquette and to keep warm and eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins. Also, I must take this opportunity to remind our people that viral infections should not be treated with antibiotics. This not only won’t treat your cold and flu, but also contributes to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) of some of our essential medicines,” he said.
“Given that the symptoms of these illnesses can be similar to those of COVID-19, it is prudent that infected persons seek medical attention, get tested and take the necessary infection, prevention and control measures, including quarantine where necessary. In all this, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. We must continue to adhere to the five golden rules, including hand hygiene and masking up, which can also be an effective means of preventing other respiratory illnesses.”
He said the number of fully vaccinated persons now stands at over 4 million.
“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that at least 70% of our eligible population is vaccinated. Thanks to the recent campaign, we have now achieved 37% full vaccination coverage, but we still have a way to go before we meet our target. The number of fully vaccinated persons now stands at over 4 million (including those who received the single dose J&J vaccine. Further, 2,424,931 people have received dose 1 and 343,497 have received booster doses. We continue to urge all those eligible to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity at a vaccination centre near you,” said Lufuma.
“We remain concerned particularly with the districts having the highest proportions of unvaccinated eligible population. Our efforts to reach all eligible individuals will continue to be strengthened because we stand firm in our commitment to ensure the health and safety of the Zambian people, especially for vaccine preventable diseases such as COVID-19. Remember, none of us is safe until we are all safe.”