Fighting cholera

We wholeheartedly support the call by the United Street Vendors Foundation Co-operative Society urging street vendors in Lusaka to obey the directive by Government to ban the sale of foodstuffs on the street until the threat of cholera is over.

We know that thousands of people in Zambia survive by selling on the street, sometimes under very unhealthy or dangerous conditions. This is because they either have nowhere to trade from or they are attracted by the ease with which they interact with prospective customers.

Many of them have deserted designated markets where Government spent a lot of money to build them modern market facilities because they want to sell on the street where they do not pay anything and where nobody tells them what to do. City Market, Soweto Market and several other ultra-modern shopping places are literally empty because the traders have moved to the street.

For those selling foodstuffs on the street and in the open air the law should not spare them. Health authorities must not tolerate their cries that this is the only way they can put food on the table for their families. Which is better: care-free trading or certain death by cholera?

The disgraceful exposure of food on the flooded streets of Lusaka, full of uncollected garbage being feasted on by flies that also land on the same food being offered to unsuspecting customers, cannot be allowed to continue.  Street food vendors must understand that the law will not allow them to get away with carelessness that may result in illnesses and death.

At the last count more than 40 people had contracted cholera in Lusaka and Chibombo areas and it was said to be spreading.  Uncovered food, untreated water,  pit latrines and flooded surroundings are the deadly mode of contraction.

It is important that if we are going to win the war on cholera and other water-borne diseases Government must be supported in its ruthless drive to control these outbreaks before they become an epidemic that will cost many lives and huge resources to contain.

A stitch in time saves nine and it is correct that all Zambians in our cities and towns take extraordinary steps to ensure that cholera does not spread beyond the areas where it is now being contained. Local authorities and local communities must unite to ensure that this is done.

Extraordinary measures must be taken to clean up our neighborhoods  –  remove the refuse that is piling up, clear the drainages that may be chocked by foreign matter to allow rain water to flow out of residential  and trading areas, pay companies engaged to collect garbage from the townships so that they do their work efficiently and employ more rubbish disposal teams to keep our towns clean and safe.

Residents must discard the idea that garbage collection is the responsibility of councils alone.

They generate the rubbish and so they must get rid of it themselves to save their families from the risk of contracting deadly infections.

As Lusaka City Council police and the Zambia Police Service move in to remove street food sellers the issue must not be politicized. When cholera strikes it does not respect political opinion. There must be no sacred cows.

Unless we the citizens of this country and dwellers of our towns and cities stand up to Keep Zambia Clean, we will have no one to blame should cholera consume us all.    

We wholeheartedly support the call by the United Street Vendors Foundation Co-operative Society urging street vendors in Lusaka to obey the directive by Government to ban the sale of foodstuffs on the street until the threat of cholera is over.

We know that thousands of people in Zambia survive by selling on the street, sometimes under very unhealthy or dangerous conditions. This is because they either have nowhere to trade from or they are attracted by the ease with which they interact with prospective customers.

Many of them have deserted designated markets where Government spent a lot of money to build them modern market facilities because they want to sell on the street where they do not pay anything and where nobody tells them what to do. City Market, Soweto Market and several other ultra-modern shopping places are literally empty because the traders have moved to the street.

For those selling foodstuffs on the street and in the open air the law should not spare them. Health authorities must not tolerate their cries that this is the only way they can put food on the table for their families. Which is better: care-free trading or certain death by cholera?

The disgraceful exposure of food on the flooded streets of Lusaka, full of uncollected garbage being feasted on by flies that also land on the same food being offered to unsuspecting customers, cannot be allowed to continue.  Street food vendors must understand that the law will not allow them to get away with carelessness that may result in illnesses and death.

At the last count more than 40 people had contracted cholera in Lusaka and Chibombo areas and it was said to be spreading.  Uncovered food, untreated water,  pit latrines and flooded surroundings are the deadly mode of contraction.

It is important that if we are going to win the war on cholera and other water-borne diseases Government must be supported in its ruthless drive to control these outbreaks before they become an epidemic that will cost many lives and huge resources to contain.

A stitch in time saves nine and it is correct that all Zambians in our cities and towns take extraordinary steps to ensure that cholera does not spread beyond the areas where it is now being contained. Local authorities and local communities must unite to ensure that this is done.

Extraordinary measures must be taken to clean up our neighborhoods  –  remove the refuse that is piling up, clear the drainages that may be chocked by foreign matter to allow rain water to flow out of residential  and trading areas, pay companies engaged to collect garbage from the townships so that they do their work efficiently and employ more rubbish disposal teams to keep our towns clean and safe.

Residents must discard the idea that garbage collection is the responsibility of councils alone.

They generate the rubbish and so they must get rid of it themselves to save their families from the risk of contracting deadly infections.

As Lusaka City Council police and the Zambia Police Service move in to remove street food sellers the issue must not be politicized. When cholera strikes it does not respect political opinion. There must be no sacred cows.

Unless we the citizens of this country and dwellers of our towns and cities stand up to Keep Zambia Clean, we will have no one to blame should cholera consume us all.    

Categorized | Editorial

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