GOVERNMENT has stepped up efforts to contain the outbreak of cholera in Lusaka, Lusaka provincial medical officer Kennedy Malama has said.
Dr. Malama said this follows the increase in the number of cholera cases recorded so far in Kanyama compound where the disease broke out at the weekend.
The disease has claimed the life of a four-month-old baby and over 30 cases had been recorded.
Dr. Malama confirmed to the Daily Nation that his office had continued to receive new cases of cholera every day.
He disclosed that five new cases were recorded as of Tuesday and that the patients were hospitalised at the cholera centre that had been set up in Kanyama.
Dr. Malama said the patients were from Makeni Villa, Old Kanyama, New Kanyama and John Laing. “My office has continued to receive more cases of cholera; we discharged some patients but new cases have been reported. This is worrying,” Dr. Malama said.
He said his office has stepped up efforts in preventing the disease from spreading.
Dr. Malama said sensitization programmes have been enhanced to enable people to have knowledge on cholera and how they could prevent themselves from catching the disease.
“We have stepped up our efforts and we feel that the more we sensitize the people on cholera, the more we prevent it. Information is power, if people are well informed on how they could protect themselves from the disease, and then we will be saving lives,” he said.
Dr. Malama noted that his office had embarked on the distribution of chlorine to the affected areas to ensure that people had safe treated water.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Health was in the process of setting up more cholera centres in the city.
“Poor drinking water has been identified as one of the causes of the outbreak; we are always advising our people to ensure that they drink safe and clean water.
‘‘To this effect we are distributing chlorine to the people. More cholera centres are to be established as well, so we are doing our best.’’
Dr. Malama advised people to take responsibility by observing basic cholera prevention measures.
“Cholera is related to issues of hygiene, the people must also take responsibility by making sure that they live in a clean environment, wash their hands after using the toilet, avoid gatherings and warm their food among others,” he said.
He urged people to continue reporting suspected cases of cholera to the nearest health centre, saying that it was easier to treat the disease when reported early.
“We urged the people continue reporting these cases immediately they suspect a person showing symptoms of cholera; the disease can be very deadly if not reported on time. They should not be ashamed to report such cases,” he said