HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo says the rate at which boreholes in the country are being drilled is recipe for Cholera outbreaks.

And Masebo has advised against holding funeral gatherings for those who have succumbed to cholera.

Rendering a Ministerial statement to the National Assembly, Thursday, Masebo noted with concern that some boreholes were being drilled near septic tanks in areas such as Matero and Kanyama.

“Under the Ministry of Water, there was a law that when you are sinking a borehole, you must report yourself to WARMA and the reason for that is basically to guide this drilling of boreholes. Madam Speaker, the way we drill boreholes in this country can also cause Cholera because sometimes, somebody is putting a borehole nearer to a septic tank and not understanding that below, there is no boundary, there is always slippages. So, you will find that water in the sewerages can go to the borehole. That is why it is important that we don’t just sink boreholes anyhow and everywhere,” she said.

“For Lusaka, for example, in places like Kanyama and Matero, this is why we discourage sinking of boreholes especially in Kanyama. The water table is so high that you just go 10, 15 meters, there is a borehole. So what are we doing? We are making sure issues of sanitation get improved”.

The Health Minister said it was vital for the country to have good, quality public sanitation.

“Again, the President has been pushing for sanitation that let us ensure that schools, clinics, public stations have quality sanitation. The problem in this country, we don’t have good, quality public sanitation. We need to do this. Even in ministries, some ministries for example, you can’t even use their toilets, they are dirty. Markets, some toilets are unusable. So, how can we talk of hygiene. As Zambians, let us look at this issue of sanitation. In the long term, it’s to ensure that we follow the laws. we have clear laws of how to build a house, people just build anyhow and when you demolish, they call you devil. So for me, the rule of law must be centre stage,” she said.

MAnd Masebo said 26 cases of Cholera had so far been confirmed in Lusaka as of October 25, 2023, with two deaths.

“As of 25th October, 2023, we have observed a few more cholera cases in Lusaka. This situation demands a swift and comprehensive response from both the Government and the public. I would like to provide an update on the current situation and outline the measures that are being taken to combat this outbreak. Current situation, number of cases: to date, there have been 26 confirmed cases of cholera in Lusaka, and we are deeply saddened to report that two lives, one of which occurred in the community have been lost as a result of this outbreak. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families affected by this tragedy,” she said.

“Cholera is a waterborne disease that can spread rapidly in unsanitary conditions. We hove identified specific areas within Lusaka where the outbreak is most concentrated and our efforts are focused on these high-risk zones. So far, the cases hove been identified in Kanyama, Chawama, Meanwood Ndeke, Chipata Compound and Bauleni areas. Students in a boarding houses in Chalala where an increase in diarrhoea cases was noted are being investigated. Our teams are also investigating contacts to a student from Evelyn Hone college who tested positive with a rapid diagnostic test”.

Meanwhile, Masebo advised against holding funeral gatherings for those that might have succumbed to cholera.

“The other issue related to Cholera, Madam Speaker, is that when somebody dies of Cholera, people must not go and attend and gather at a funeral where somebody has died of Cholera. It is very contagious and it spreads very quickly. So, avoid such funerals and do not be responsible for burying a body that has died as a result of Cholera. That should be done by the government. That is our guidance,” said Masebo.