By KASONDE KASONDE –
HEALTH Ministry Permanent Secretary Kennedy Malama has said that Lusaka has recorded 33 new cholera cases and that the country will only declare the epidemic eradicated if no new case is recorded in two weeks.
The permanent secretary has also urged Zambians not to relax on preventive measures against cholera even if the interventions made so far by the Government and its partners have brought cholera under control.
Dr Malama said it took a maximum of up to two weeks for some people to show signs of cholera when they had been exposed to the bacteria and so only if two weeks elapsed without a new case, the country could declare the outbreak eradicated.
He said the cumulative number of cases recorded in Lusaka since the disease broke out on October 6 last year was 3,620 and 73 deaths.
Dr Malama said Lusaka was the most hit but there had been sporadic cases reported outside the city but linked to the epicentres like Chilanga and Serenje districts that recorded three cholera cases each and Lundazi had two.
“We have recorded significant reduction in new cases and we need to heighten the interventions, members of the public should not have a notion that we have won the fight, yes we are almost there but the last steps are critical,” Dr Malama said.
He said there was need to ensure that members of the public did not revert to street vending in undesignated places, throwing litter and drinking water from shallow wells as it would make cholera chronic.
Dr Malama also said the second dose of the cholera vaccination programme would commence next week Monday and he called on people that received the first dose to ensure that they get the second for the vaccine to work effectively.
And General Education Permanent Secretary Henry Tukombe said health inspectors were going round the schools to ensure set hygiene standards were met by learning institutions for them to reopen.
Mr Tukombe said David Kaunda Secondary School would open next week.
He also cautioned schools that were sending back pupils coming from epicentres to stop as the set hygiene standards put in place in the schools were meant to curb cholera outbreaks.
Meanwhile, Game Stores donated 1,875Kg of chlorine powder to the Ministry of Health for the cholera fight worth K51, 750.